Brooklyn to Portland

photos wouldn’t upload…

I’ve been awake for a long time. There is some shift to light at the window here in Portland, Me. Where I am bedded down on the second floor of a three floor Victorian, Theresa and Emily above me. I arrived in Portland for dinner from Brooklyn and we ate at the restaurant where Emily works. Somethings triggered me at dinner… both the fact that Jim knew more about what was happening with California wildfires than I do and that I expressed to them what a hard year it has been.
After I got up to pee I couldn’t sleep again and first looked up the fires that are burning in my poor parched state. Then I went into the Veggie Voyager (www.veggievoyagers.blogspot.com) to read about this section of our original Veggie Voyage in Oct. 20007 and then into “this time last year” for the last time… I won’t be able to stand to look at Sept when it rolls around. Last year we were going up to high mountain lakes in between chemos and M was collecting veggie oil, buying boats and I was chattering on about a myriad of non-Michael topics with the abandon that a secure and happy life ensures. During these wee hours I enlarged each photo of him to study his face for signs of the ravages of the disease that would take him…yes, he was thin and his features were sharper than “normal.” I guess the biggest trigger is that I will driving in reverse some of the areas where we traveled together in 2007…. Beautiful areas that we claimed just because I fixed the points in the blog. I didn’t know that it would be a hurdle to return.
My time in Brooklyn seems to have focused on Priya and Ameerah since we spent the most time together. I liked it because it wasn’t a flashy time. We moved at the pace a little one would allow and didn’t do anything grander than a trip to the Botanical Garden. My mind filled up with Ameerah’s difficult developmental stage (major whining and tantruming) interspersed with very sweet sprightly little girl times. Her mom, cultured, elegant and a woman of the world (having been the daughter of a diplomat and lived all over the world,) is a fascinating person and we talked for hours. I also got glimpses into my nephews’ lives and even into the lives of Kevin’s dear one and the downstairs neighbor. My reflections there were about parenting, urban vs rural lifestyles, the challenges of making a living, working full time and raising a family, the creative art world of New York but very little about Michael. It was a relief to have my mind so filled with thoughts of others that he slid off into the sideline. On one hand I want to set him aside and on the other to pull him closer and not allow him to be forgotten.
As I write this it is August 15th, the half way point of my Amtrak trip. I’ll have this time with my old friend Theresa and then head west again. I think my time with family in Brooklyn is probably going to dominate my memories in the years ahead… just seeing them as they live and being able to participate a little in this relatively quiet time before Priya starts into her graduate work and Ameerah starts pre-school. I am filled with gratitude to them for welcoming me and at life for letting me do this trip. Sometimes lugging my suitcase up a long staircase in a train station as I did this last 24 hours (Bed-stuy to Penn Station then Back Bay Boston to North Station,) I wonder if my traveling days are nearing an end but I hope not. It is my joy to accumulate new experiences and it sure helps me put distance on losing Michael.

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