We clicked “buy flight” less than a day before take-off this past Saturday, and that was it. We were going to a state we'd never been, the heartland.
And when we arrived it was just that. We walked outside into 100 degrees of heat and 180 degrees of flat and it was silent. No people. No moving cars. Just an occasional bird scratching the air with noise. The sky was so empty and high I couldn’t find it. It was a place you sense you’ve been before.
You know planner me----I research trips months ahead. I skim reviews and take 360 degree tours of hotel lobbies and by the time we are packing, I can fully picture where I will be sleeping—and I chock one up for anticipation. For in imagining while you are still elsewhere, there’s the joy of hope.
This time? He picked the hotel, booked the car and flights, and we were there. The joy of unexpected was placed in our hands.
It felt like a surprise ball. It unraveled us into a turn of the century town with Waffle Houses and a guy on a horse on the highway attracting attention to the leather store. We stopped in Walmart and gaped at the size of bags of shredded cheese. We ran our hands along rifles and saw our first alligator-turtle in the log-walled Bass Pro Shop. But mainly we sat in a coffee shop and told about the years since we last saw our friend, the friend who first introduced us in Scotland.
Late, late that night, or maybe the next morning, we sat in a dark venue on an empty street in the midwest and our cup of happiness bubbled up and over the edge. Walker smiled and smiled. I tapped my leg. The music felt good—--we had traveled, we were there, we were alive. Buy our friend Andy's album here. They're called Blackbird Cathedral, and are great.
So this post? Is in praise of the spontaneous. The serendipitous moments when life comes together and memory becomes real again. When you are actually in a place you already know through words. And it is in celebration of being with friends again whose lives have walked for a span next to yours.
May you find yourself there, with them, someday soon.
(More Scandinavia posts in the works!)