Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week 5, Part 1: Toronto, Buffalo, Pennsylvania

As I sit down to write this blog post, my mind feels blurry. My travel stamina is waning--and as delightful as all the new experiences have been, it's been a lot of new to take in and process. I'm writing from a house on the West River near Chesapeake Bay in Galesville, Maryland, a community not far from Annapolis and a short jaunt to D.C. and Baltimore. We arrived here this afternoon, and I was a bit of a mess--my panic about traffic has been flaring up, and I was supposed to visit an old friend in D.C. tonight but the visit would've involved me driving alone for the first time in D.C. rush hour traffic and we weren't sure how I might respond to that. I tend to freeze behind the wheel when I panic and that didn't seem safe. I'm not sure why this is happening and it seems like an unlucky affliction to be facing while I'm on a road trip. However, I know it will pass, if I just keep staying present and taking small steps towards conquering it. 

The last several days have been more about catching up with friends and family we haven't seen in awhile, rather than experiencing places, though the long stretches of driving have given us wonderful opportunities to see many beautiful landscapes and cityscapes. 

When we left Michigan, we crossed into Canada and drove through Ontario, stopping in Toronto for the night, so I could see a woman who has mentored me over the last few years. I had a great dinner with her, a wonderful kale salad at a raw food and vegan restaurant in downtown Toronto, Live, so we had the opportunity to crawl through downtown rush hour traffic and see a bit of the city that way. It's a beautiful place, even if I only saw it glancingly. I got to gawk, from a distance, at Casa Loma, a castle built on a hill by a wealthy man for his wife ( and now owned by the city for tours, etc. But the best thing about Toronto was visiting with my friend and getting a good night's sleep at our favorite hotel chain--the Hampton Inn. 

Too soon it was morning, and time to move again--this time for a two night stay in Buffalo, New York, where Larry's sister Debbie lives. They hadn't seen each other since their mother passed away four years ago, and it was a wonderful reunion. I also got to visit with friend I hadn't seen in about ten years, maybe longer, who teaches literature at Buffalo State. We sat in a cafe on Elmwood Avenue, on what turned out to be a gloriously beautiful fall day, reminisce, catch up, and discuss our experiences and frustrations as college teachers. I was really grateful for the chance to see Gregg, who always inspires me as a poet and who taught me so much over the years and especially when we were in a writing group at a friend's apartment in Berkeley in 1993. It's great to feel that we could step in where we had left off and talk for over four hours straight and still have more to say. 

When we left Buffalo, we promised to come back on our way back to Michigan in November, and are looking forward to more time with Debbie and Gregg. 

The drive through Western New York was glorious, with fall colors just starting to come into their orange. We decided to stop in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, just because it was convenient, and we though we didn't join them, we loved watching people moving along the river walk at the bank of the Susquehanna River. It would be awesome to return to see a World Series of Little League Game and to ride in the old fashioned paddlewheel boat, the Hiawatha, along the river. 

Thursday morning we continued to drive through Pennsylvania, past rows of old houses, more river views, and beside beautifully changing trees. I tried my hand at driving (the first time since Montana) until Larry decided it best he take back over (he's a total trooper, taking on all the driving duties), and we wound our way down to this lovely stopping place, Galesville. 

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who said EFT helped her to completely overcome her fear of highway driving.