28 May 2008


I write after several weeks of "blogger" silence from a room in one of the guest houses on the Virginia Seminary campus. This is my second visit here in as many weeks. Last week was the Alumna/ae Council, Board of Trustees and commencement; this week marks the end of the Lilly Endowment-sponsored First Three Years Program, involving both evaluation and celebration AND 70+ people. Last week Tal and I drove here from Edgefield; today I flew from Columbia to Reagan National on US Airways.

Today's transition -- from home to here -- was an unremarkable one. I arrived at the Columbia airport in ample time to encounter a most helpful ticket agent who actually carried my bag from the check-in kiosk to baggage screening. I was not -- unlike the gentleman in front of me -- chosen for extra pre-flight screening. All the passengers from flight 3030 were present and accounted for 20 minutes before the posted time of departure, resulting in our being airbourne early. The taxi stand in DC was organized and I was on campus in record time. The rooms in the guest house were ready in advance of the 3:00 PM check-in. It couldn't have been more perfect. Unremarkable.

Except ... except that my version of unremarkable is anything but. Every moment was, in fact, utterly REmarkable. The car started (at 107+ thousand miles it's cranky when it's been sitting for more than a day). I-20E was running smoothly all the way to the US1 exit to the airport. The parking garage at CAE was not full and I could back into a space, ready for the just-in-case of difficulty on Saturday afternoon. Coffee was brewed and a breakfast muffin baked in the welcome space beyond security.

And, the most remarkable of all? The trip down the runway, resulting in flight. What other word for it could there possibly be --as Columbia and surrounds appeared on my left, including the new, wider gentle curves of the dam?

Then, there was the approach to Reagan ... the undulations of the Potomac and Fort Washington and Jones Point at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the singular sight of Aspinwall on the VTS campus alongside buildings at Episcopal High School, the National Cathedral off in the distance beyond the US Capital. Plus, our arrival spawned the arrival alongside our Embrarer of a tug with providing us with deplaning stairs and a baggage cart and, most importantly, a bus to take us to the terminal.

That ANY of this works at all is utterly and completely remarkable. And, as bedtime approaches, I give thanks for it all, every moment of it. Good night.

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