I’ve been home from Atlanta now for a full day. As you might expect::suitcases are empty(yes, that’s your influence and now my ritual)a pile of clothes have been washed and dried, folded and put away carefully. Sandals, capris and tees are back in the closet for hibernating until summer and yes, the from every window you could see this dusting of snow early this morning. Ready or not we are in pre-winter.
The warmth of Atlanta made this usual November time away from home, after that crushing loss at the polls for Hillary and us, softer. Tom hit a home run this year with a palatial AirBnBWe located on north Highland St, Atlanta’s hot new neighborhood filled with cafes bars, restaurants and by Friday night, the life of the street, inside and out, was joyous with live music and costumed revelers celebrating the latest Harry Potter movie. No, I didn’t put on a costume and join the youngsters, but I did enjoy the life around us.
And in the other part of town, where conferences rule, we were treated to a well planned National Writing Project drive to plow forward even in the era of fear as each day seems to usher in more moves toward Trumpland that will take us far from the USA we know and love. (danger ahead for the garden of democracy and the gates are now opened to beasts).
But as we began Thursday morning Elsye and the NWP leadership team kept our spirits up and the day was filled with presenters sharing their successes and inspiring our future work. Yes, I was inspired as we begin to plan for more PD work.
Ubers took us back and forth from the conference sessions to our mansion to dinners with friends, to tourist sites throughout the city and back again over the short 31/2 days in a warm city.
15 years as a National Writing Project Site and the bonds of friendship surprised me once again. It was good to to wake up early each morning with Mary, Jackie, Jackie, Dorothy and Diane, walk around MLK’s center with Kevin, to grab coffee and deep conversation with Patti, to and Diane and explore neighborhoods and moving bars with Christine, Jackie and Tom , renew Maryland U WP bonds with Thor, Beth and Maggie and the ESWPN gang out on the mall, under the Christmas tree. And if that weren’t enough finally, with the help of Tara, I got to meet and dine with Julieanne and Margaret, two Slice of Lifers I’ve been writing with in the virtual landscape for years.
So much was packed into 31/2 days. So much to breathe in with eyes wide open this year. It was exhausting, all that inspiration. I was back in Atlanta with vague memories from our very first time in Atlanta years ago with the NWP and more recently with Andrea and Kristen at the huge tech conference with frequent updates to you via phone. Unlike most of the NWP in the past, I wasn’t waiting breathlessly for you to join me. Instead, after a quick coffee with Patti, I was back at our place to meet Mary and Jackie and head to the airport to join the group heading home. Nope, I wasn’t alone.
Today I had time to breathe and get to a movie- Moonlight. How powerful! Yes, I missed you and our post-movie conversation. YES, it’s still tough to navigate daily life without you no matter how wide I can open my eyes. I still made sure today to officially opt out of online dating organizations. Just can’t do it. Can’t. Can’t put evidence of you,of us away yet. Maybe I’ll never be able to put us away. For now, I know I can’t.
So I’m home, catching up on 60 Minutes, with the wind blowing hard. I have a root canal scheduled for Tuesday and Thanksgiving coming early- Wednesday night in Ellenville. Yes, I’m in this life now, not sleepwalking but moving slower forcing myself off the couch and out without you here to lift me up.
Miss you as I enter that season of Thanksgiving without the romance of us I was so used to for so long…