Monday, Oct. 11, 2004 | 6:24 p.m.



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Still More Coolness

Weekend Travels

This weekend was fun and poignant. I haven't shuffled all my emotions yet, haven't laid them out to figure out what they're saying, but I'm glad I went to Bloomington, even if it was only for about 36 hours.

I had this strange sensation all weekend that I should have been able to just "go home" to pick up a jacket. Of course, "home" is now about 1700 miles away, so that wasn't really practical. Fall was most definitely in the air in central Illinois, and it was beautiful -- crisp, leafy and fragrant. It reminded me of this poem I wrote the first autumn I was there:

Autumn's Dance to Dream

Brighidís flame-tipped brush paints the trees
In brilliant red, orange and golden hues
Leaves like fire
Trembling blaze drip the last heat of summer from spindly fingers

Cold midnight north wind stirs cast-off leafy clothing
Into glorious dancing eddies
Swirling whirling dervishes
Dancing the last dance before Winterís slumber

Every sense senses the slow undressing of the trees
Bony arms exposing themselves to the cooling sky
Ready to sleep
Waiting for their blanket of alabaster snow

Autumn really is one of my favorite seasons, and I'm grateful I got the chance to enjoy it, even if it was only for one "real" day.

Coming home was really weird -- I kept having these disconnect moments at the airport where I had to remind myself that "going home" meant going to Arizona, not the other way around. As I typed that, I realized this is the first time I flew from Illinois to Arizona since I moved, so maybe it's not so weird that I felt that way. Oh, and I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM to make the drive to Chicago, so of course my brain was a little befuddled. Disgruntled, even.

One reason the trip was so short is that it was the first time I've been separated from Nina overnight since her birth. And of course, because she's such a great kid, she didn't even notice I was gone, while I was suffering the tortures of the damned without our nighttime routine to end my day. I missed her chubby little toes and her herby-spicy-sweet baby smell.

I was able to spend a few moments with Stew and Susie, ate wonderful, homemade Mexican food (as always) and relaxed in the homey ambience Susie has created (which attracts neighborhood kids like happy little flies). There's a chance they may get to come visit us in March, and I really hope that happens. Of course, then I'll have cooking anxiety, because I will never be a quarter of the cook Susie is.

So I also visited with my friends from my old coven, and that was tough. I'm not even sure I can come up with all the reasons why it was tough, but I'll probably try in my other journal soon. I spent two nights with Cedar and also got to see River, which was a very serendipitous thing, as I think I mentioned too many times. We had dinner at The Olive Garden, where I ordered an "appletini" that was way more "tini" than "apple." I think they forgot to add the apple altogether, actually, which explained why at least 4 ounces of straight, chilled vodka made me a little ... repetitious. It probably didn't help that I followed it up with a very yummy berry granita that was not quite as strong as the "apple"tini, but was strong enough.

Finally, last night I watched belly dance performances with Cedar, got inspired again, more fired up, and again wished she lived closer so I could have a guide as I step off that cliff into the air of my movement journey. I really want to bring her out here to do some workshops around movement and drumming. Thanks so much, Cedar and TLR, for hosting me while I was in Bloomington. I slept amazingly well in the basement (which is hardly a chore, as it's finished and comfy). I always knew I was a subterreanean creature at heart!

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