I'm in a Perkins in Ohio on the way home from your place. So far I've avoided tolls, except for one strange skinny metal mesh-bedded bridge over the Ohio at Newell, WVa and East Liverpool, OH. 75¢. Looked privately built/owned/run---one guy in a tiny hut taking cash from steady traffic in both directions, sticking one arm out one window & the other out the other. The Fiesta factory outlet near there was closed, but it's just as well. My but there were some big birds gliding, in those gentle curves, like they do, between the cliffs along those parts.
I'd gone for the "new" interstate & the southern route west, a little tired of the PA turnpike. Which stinks in pouring rain, also. Hadn't thought of how that'd mean going through Cumberland---along with Louisville, tops in my book for seeing from the highway. You get all those views from the winding bridges of the old dark brick buildings & churches with steeples, in their various perches, coating the hillsides. Also there's the Holiday Inn across from the parking garage---a scene that figured prominently in my friend Bill's figuring out how to be gay: he'd drive up into the parking garage & get out & face the hotel windows, where men would face him, and activity would, like, ensue. Don't recall him saying how he found out about this venue. Could he have just stumbled upon it? I always guessed so. The guy kept his radar on, that's for sure.
Too bad he didn't live long enough for the internet.
Boy, the downtowns of those towns along the Ohio look in sad shape. I get especially dislodged looking at teenagers, hanging out in parking lots, in places like that, when I try to imagine if I'd come up in, and stayed in, such a berg. I look and look. It's either a failure of imagination or (I bet) a failure of courage to imagine.
My pilgrimage to the eagles' nest was grand, if "grand" isn't too big for something peaceful, in a way that solitude in mud & rain---steady random tap-plopping rain---is peaceful. The nest is surely grand, regardless. It's huge. And baby eagle is clearly several toddler sizes bigger than she was mere days ago. The sycamore they're in is all branchy-neato, and extensive. Capacious. After talking my way past the guard---which wasn't easy, considering I'd arranged for permission to come onto the grounds, and nearly involved my caving to his unsubtle invitation to admire and appreciate his earlier military service, but I managed to hold out on that---I checked in & got a pass & wandered one of the instructional buildings, past a few dozen people's cubicle-type work spaces, until I found the library wherein a telescope is set up for peering at the nest. Then I borrowed one of the many communal umbrellas that live all over the place there, next to most doors, and hit the trails. The guard would be pleased that I dutifully refrained from trespassing onto restricted turf. I was gonna be dutiful that way when he simply said to; he really didn't need to add the part about years of confinement in the federal penitentiary.
Not realizing there's an umbrella return at the guardhouse, I turned mine back in & got good and soaked on the way back to the car. I'd also put down the traveling roof at various points before that, to use both hands on my binoc.s. Then once I left the campus, I took a little meander through the unincorporated town of Scrabble & up to see Dam #4 on the Potomac, where my drenching was complete. Nobody seemed to mind my changing clothes in the car at the Sheetz's back in the first town after that with a traffic light, whatever it was.
All this to say I had a soppin' good time going on my eagle mission.
I think I'm the only person still dining at the Perkins at the moment. It's barely dark out. Waitress says it's been like this.
My brain seems to respond well to stopping to sit at a table, vs. trundling through, in the roar & the motion. Pretty sure this is the first time I've written what you could call a bread-and-butter letter before I've gotten home from the visit in question. Lately I've been remiss at writing them at all. Bread-and-butter is what (my boss) Tracy calls 'em, having been taught the term, and the idea, by the previous manager of the copy eds, the legendary D.J., whose tenure ended when she jumped off a parking garage in Ann Arbor some 15 or 20 years ago. This is a bread-and-butter letter cuz (I'm about to say): thanks again for having me. It's not just the being there for the annual shindig/holiday/ritual/phenom, though that part is somethin', verily. It's the getting to talk to & hang with those peoples. And you. Well, you know. Need I even say? It's fun to match up some actual folks with the folks of lore, and standing & sitting & walking & laying around with your extended gang, in the formations of the past few days--- I don't know what words. Sweet, yes. A gift. Evocative in ways I don't understand and am enjoying the luxury of not needing to. I love the way, after a string of such hanging and encountering, this little bit of it, or that, comes back to you & says hi. Where "you" = me. Also, on some other level, there's something about having been in such a populated ongoing social/familial circumstance, for days. For me it's the stuff of a whole constitutional shift, if those words convey any meaning to ya. It's enticing and ordinary and extraordinary and grounding and ethereally transporting. And confusing and completely the opposite of confusing. And something I'm glad to see I'm not too frightened to partake of.
Lisa is going on, though, isn't Lisa. Lisa needs to hit the road. Lisa switches to third person to bring herself back to her quiet table with the cherry Coke & the water & sign her name & take the check up to the counter with the piled-high cream pies set at 30° angles to show off their fluffiness & get the heck outta here.
Hey, they're playing that "New Shoes" song my buddy McG sent me.
& suddenly everything is right"
Good time to get t' movin'.