Home ground-ed

     Even enthusiastic travellers sometimes ask themselves, what am I doing here? The 10 PM inferno of a subway platform in New York where a seemingly cooperative woman does not distinguish between questions regarding directions, but nods yes to them all. This particular inferno is modelled on a steam laundry.
     Phoenix supplies the pressing part of the operation, ironing asphalt-surfaced parking lots, and so many of them. Heat flares up between car and grocery store, between church door and the white hearse waiting at the curb.
      Of course there were also pre-Raphaelite clouds above saguaro cactus, and an almost teal-coloured full moon sky suddenly rolling red as a haboob, or dust wall, approached. In the morning, the comical sight of lawn chairs in the pool.
     And still a memory of the Hudson flowing cool and a bit choppy beyond the restored walkway that Hurricane Sandy flooded in 2012; the charm of folk art in neighbourhood parks; the talks... on the bus, with two women, about shoes; at the theatre, with a neighbour, about what to see next; at another theatre, with a man who has forgotten the Greek mythology he learned in college, but which it would have helped to know to understand the play.
      Yet, flying northwest from Denver, the sky is clear enough to see the ground change from flat brown rounds and rectangles, many shades of brown, yellow, tired green; then the climbing pinched, squeezed, moulded ranges and the forcing- through blue of rivers that look wide even from 36,000 feet. The mountains rise closer to the belly of the plane and there is snow. Finally, a valley again and a long tidal flat and the Lions across Burrard Inlet that roar: ALMOST!

     Bare feet on the cool kitchen floor, familiar surfaces. Home.