far too much writing, far too many photos

[continued from previous entry]

Northeast Canada slid by, then Maine, the Boston area finally drifting into view, spreading itself out down below, land still mostly brown extending away in all directions, following the Earth’s gentle curve. The plane passed the city, flying low enough to provide a crystal-clear panoramic view of harbor and Boston/Cambridge, making a long, lazy turn over the south shore, coming back in across highways and harbor, touching down just after noon in an urban area awash in sunlight and mild temperatures.

The Southeast Expressway, stretching north to Boston

A heaving mass of humans waited to be processed in customs (heavy on groups of chattering teenagers, sandals and backpacks abounding) with only five or so agents on duty. Result: a long wait. Long enough that by the time I made it to baggage claim, the luggage from our flight had been removed from the carousel and lined up in neat rows to make way for mountains of luggage from other flights.

Outside: springtime, or at least Boston’s April version of springtime. Bright sunshine, mild temperatures leavened by a cold breeze. Nice weather to wait for a bus. Which I did. Waited and waited and waited until mine showed, waves of other travelers appearing, pouring into other buses, heading off to points scattered around New England.

The day before, I’d left a voice message with the local cabbie who’d taken me to the bus station a month earlier, let him know when I’d be arriving, said I’d call during the bus ride from Boston to confirm on-time arrival (or not). All connections fell into place, I left a message on the cabbie’s voicemail during the drive north, had an uneasy feeling a while later that I should try him again, did so, left a second message. Pulled into Montpelier at 6:25 to find a spring evening underway, the temperature up near 70. No taxi in sight.

Despite Montpelier being the state capìtal, its bus station is a simple podunk-style trailer hidden away from the main drags behind buildings, parking lots, railroad track. The bus pulled out, leaving me and an impassive 20-something woman, her hiding a shiner behind oversized sunglasses, teetering on ultra-high-heeled shoes. Between us: a utility pole, a brokendown bench, a pay phone where she stood making calls, talking quietly into the receiver. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes. No taxi. At the fifteen-minute mark I dragged out my cellphone, called the cabbie.

Long story short: he hadn’t picked up the afternoon’s voicemail, seemed to be at home when I called, apparently playing hookey. Couldn’t blame him, really, given the day (tailor-made for playing hookey). I set off for my car on foot, festooned with far too much luggage, dragging the body bag. Put out a thumb on State Street for a while, all passing drivers ignored me. Trudged on, stopped at the gym, begged the woman behind the desk to let me leave my stuff there while I went for my car, she graciously acquiesced.

The rest of the hike provided the first experience of full-bore spring since those 48 short hours in Sevilla, three weeks earlier. Kids played in the soft evening air, a boombox on a front porch broadcast a tune, the occasional car passed. Apart from that, quiet reigned. A warm evening in a small New England town, the season’s first true shot of springtime. And me, back from a month away, the bucolic scene around me feeling slightly unreal.

Retrieved car, thanked she who’d generously allowed me to leave it in her driveway for a month, returned to gym, retrieved bags, hit the highway. Pulled into my driveway around eight, songbirds making evening music, the smell of new growth in the air. Though I noticed with massive relief that the new growth did not yet include the ocean of grass around the house, meaning mowing would not commence for a while.

[to be continued. maybe.]

España, te echo de menos.

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