July 24, 2009
Ginger drops me off. We hug as she fights tears. “Thank you for coming with me. I have to get used to doing this solo now.” “Thank you for asking me to join you. You’ll be alright.” I know it’s hard being in a new place, without knowing anyone else there. But I have become more certain than ever, that in everything, He goes before us.
This is the easiest airport I’ve been through. Bags checked, boarding pass, and flight information before I even enter. I order a Jamba Juice and can’t help but smile as I sit at the gate, there are two birds inside flying over my head and landing on the gate sign above me.
We, the other passengers and I, board the plane. I take my seat by a window and wait for take- off, it is one of my favorite experiences, probably because it is as close as I’ve ever come to actually flying on my own. Once we are in the air, I watch, the ribbon road winding, as we pass over the tan earth below. We fly over the land of Tetris, neat plots of soil; the land of circles, like someone stamped them into place with Bingo markers in different shades of brown and green. The clouds are like sheep and elephants and their shadows like crazy dancing poodles, mirrors of black beneath. And then, in this land that is laid out so neatly, lined off into exact pieces there is a burst of organic beauty on the surface of the earth. A canyon maybe that can’t be divided and marked off. Black and orange like a painted dragon, sparks of fire flying out of its sides.
There is a lady on the flight; I have gathered that the two ladies in front of me are her daughter and daughter in-law and that the girl beside me is her granddaughter, who reminds me of a Golden Girl. Tall and thin ( a family trait and a trait that attracts the family), her blonde hair just so, her lips and eyes bright colors of pink and blue, huge gold earrings, flat, thick oval discs that catch the sunlight. She talks to her companions about her boyfriend, Grant, and the girls’ trips they’ve all taken over the years. She orders a white wine. She talks about her friends at the club (I’m assuming Country rather than Dance) and playing bridge. She, herself, is a card.
I drift in and out of sleep. I have tea and cookies, which, unfortunately after I’ve eaten them and developed a rash, look at the package and realize they are made with soy flour. We land as I listen to the people behind me talk about the view. The mother thinks it is beautiful, the daughter hates it. They are from California. In fact, I think I am the only one on the flight who is returning. Which is nice, because I know exactly where to head for my luggage and about how long it will take me to get home. There is excitement and adventure in a new place, but a distinct comfort in what is familiar. I have discovered that I like both. Right now, I am thankful for the familiar. Sarah waits with me for my suitcase to appear on the conveyor belt. We drive toward Chattanooga. The door is locked, and my hands are full, so I ring the bell. Phil, who normally does not come out with the other dogs, runs to the door and back to Momma, sliding across the kitchen floor as if to say, “hurry, hurry, she’s here.” I think he is going to turn back-flips and leap into an arabesque out of Momma’s arms toward me. He makes a fuss of “happy noises” and all is right with the world.