Sensations, experiences and smells pour through my fingers onto the keyboard. Just back from a month in the U.S. – New York, Washington, D.C., Iowa, Wisconsin, California – I don’t know where to begin.
To get a handle on it all, I write down some glimmers of my journey, a sneak preview of what’s to come:
Precious time with my son and his girlfriend
Pablo Neruda’s face on the Barnes and Noble coffee shop mural
An American kestrel alighting on rooftop terrace
Nocturnal stroll along the Chelsea High Line
En route from NY to Washington:
Warm welcome from girlfriend’s family
Touching five states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland
Independence Hall tower in the distance
Award at the Peace Corps Connect Conference for my memoir “Marrying Santiago”
Recalling fifty-year-old adventures with long lost Peace Corps friends
With my son, his first view of the iconic Capitol, the tall, slim Washington monument mirrored in the Reflecting Pool, the solemn Lincoln Monument.
Inca Trail exhibit at Native American Museum – Incan concept of reciprocity (ayni)
“Mammoth muffin” at Perkin’s roadside restaurant
Welcomed by eighty-nine-year-old Betty into her farmhouse
Corn fields, silos, green and yellow John Deere machinery, barns, barn quilts and white farmhouses displaying American flags
Local lingo: acreage, blacktop (paved road), and crick (creek); jokes about Minnesotans
Plot of wild prairie grasses, once site of covered wagons and grazing buffalo
Resplendent musical events at Luther College, friend Ann’s, alma mater
The plaintive call of the train passing through town. Whoo-whooooo.
My first sight since childhood of the wide Mississippi River
Green, wooded rolling hills
Our hostess Edie’s account of taking tea with Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin’s daughter, who spent her last years in Richland Center, Wisconsin
Unique design of the A. D. German warehouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
The pleasure of familiar sights and scents of my hometown
Reunion with former classmates at San Anselmo Coffee Roastery
Magnificent breakfasts prepared by my Airbnb hostess, Joanna
Point Reyes Station’s Bovine Bakery – refuge from the rain
Quiet moments at parents’ graveside at Tamalpais Cemetery
Poetry reading by two-time poet laureate Billy Collins
Blue Angels Squadron acrobatics over San Francisco Bay with friend Paula
And so much more that I must assimilate and let percolate….