far too much writing, far too many photos

This morning — Cambridge, Mass.: Awake early, bod still on European time. Sky outside showing the first traces of light, the sound of birds doing their morning racket making its way through the flat’s closed windows.

Up and out by 7:30 to meet with a possible roommate re: a possible summer sublet. Driving streets that I know from earlier years, flowers blossoming around the edges of lawns now warm-weather green. Traffic surprisingly tranquil for the going-to-work hour on a weekday morning. Air cool, but warming as sunlight strengthens

Post-meet-up, returned to G.&S.’s, left car, hopped the T, got out at Central Square. Skipped up the front steps of the post office, when I skipped back down them 15 minutes later I had a p.o. box, one concrete step in moving my existence in a different direction.

Returned to G.&S.’s flat, where I’d spent the first night back stateside. Dragged S. out to keep me company while I got caffeinated. As we sat talking in a preferred nearby caffeine pusher’s café, a lovely slender woman sat at the table next to ours. A neighbor of S.’s, it turned out, a dancer. I mentioned to S. that my one and only wife had been a dancer, the slender neighbor turned and asked if I said I’d been a dancer — I repeated my comment more clearly, we exchanged pleasant looks, she turned back to her table. S. and I continued talking — about my ex, about the mountain of work waiting for me in the coming weeks, about experiences using freecycle.com in the process of ditching possessions. And then our slender neighbor got her coffee from the barista — a colossal cuppa joe, steaming, with a fine-looking film of foam on top. S. and I watched with mouths open, I said something about ordering the vat of coffee, S.N. responded that she thought of it as following the more european tradition of a.m. joe. When it came out that in the ensuing exchange she’d lived in Spain, I switched to speaking Spanish and we were off, S. enduring it all with patient grace, me thinking that talking with a lovely, intelligent woman who speaks Spanish would be very easy to get used to. If I didn’t have to drive north, I would have asked her out on the spot. But I restrained myself, was on the interstate speeding north within the hour, up into New Hampshire, then Vermont, the road winding between long, rolling mountains, their slopes and contours clearly visible through trees still bare.

And now: back at the house, windows open to let in air mild enough to boost the indoor temperature. Grass outside turns slowly from brown to the rich green of spring. In the garden, a few brave flowers have thrust themselves up and blossomed, shoots from lily-of-the-valley and wild chives are pushing up, streaks of rich green against the powdery brown of the dirt.

I sit writing at the dining room table, laundry from this last week’s trip hangs on the line out by the small barn, billowing gently with the occasional breeze. Chickadees come and go at the feeder outside, the sky gradually grows overcast, the world outside is quiet. My thoughts turn to moments from this last week — walking familiar streets of Madrid’s city center; taking photos at the wedding of a friend in the English midlands; wandering through the airport at Dusseldorf, the halls and shops sparkling clean, employees and official types outnumbering travelers by a serious margin, rain falling outside in sharp contrast the blue skies of Madrid, left behind that morning as I headed north to the U.K.

For the next six weeks, Vermont will be the backdrop as the season gradually turns toward summer. After that, other places await.

España, te echo de menos

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