Here it is!!! The Day of Flying. Here’s how the time got to here…
After a 28 hour drive to Austin, the unending flatness of Texas eased by a book read aloud, we arrive in….a huge city. What?! I had thought Austin was a quaint and quirky little town. It’s quaint and quirky all right, but there’s nothing little town about it. There are skyscrapers, aggressive traffic, and miles of confusing roads and interchanges. How do humans live like this?
There is also a massive music festival underway, which we find ourselves unpredictably attending. It’s overwhelming, crushing, to be sure (75000 people!) but exhilarating and surreal. When did high waisted jean shorts come back? When did dudes start wearing rompers? When did lingerie start counting as clothes? When did strangling oneself with the microphone cord start counting as art? (Kidding- I think that’s always been art somewhere.)
It feels as if we are both participating in the same bizarre lucid dream. This is not our beautiful life! 4 days ago it was snowing on us, and the circadian down-shift of winter had initiated; today we listen to some excellent live music of known and unknown artists and drink watermelon juice with chia seed slurry and roast in the humid oven that is the touted Texas climate. We go for hikes and runs along the Austin River (I guess it’s called the Colorado River, but I can’t quite bring myself to take it seriously with that name).The cypress knees remind me fondly of the Florida Trail, and things seem a little less foreign.
The best part is we surprise the crap out of my brother, who lives in Austin now and had no idea we were flying out of here. We missed the apex of the surprise reaction, because we were asleep in his driveway when he first saw us; we are all delighted with the reunion.
We make sure our ethics are up to date with a viewing of Bladerunner 2049. (What defines human?! Who deserves compassion?!) It’s at an awesome old theater, where the hallways are lined with 50s movie posters. They screen quirky Internet edits about the actors in the film before the feature, and make elaborate cocktail menus specific to the movie (Actually, I don’t know, I’ve only been to one- maybe it’s always the same cocktails and they just change the name! But I don’t think so.) They serve a pizza where the crust is made out of cauliflower and the pepperonis are made out of beets. I contentedly anticipate eating at least 8 of these when we get back from the trail.
Most of the time is filled with all the chores that take too much time in order to put our lives on hold for 6 months. Suspending insurance and utilities, travel alerts to all the banks, the gathering and paring down and second guessing all the gear choices. The map printing, the bookings of hotels and busses, the combing of all the blogs to figure out what we missed or haven’t even thought of. The search for pants. The meticulous comparison of new camera lens options. The repacking and repacking and repacking.
And then, today is here.