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Saturday, November 12, 2022

The “Same” Day Never Is

November 12, 2022, Alamo Township, Kalamazoo County

Looking back at old blog posts, I see that any date in any particular year brought very different weather and very different events and thoughts. For example, no previous November 12 in my life was, for me, in any way like this one. The image above is from this morning in Kalamazoo, and below is what greeted us at home in Leelanau Township on November 12, 2019, the day the Artist said we would be leaving earlier from now on to drive to Arizona!

November 12, 2019, Leelanau Township, Leelanau County

This year, also, November 12 was the second leg of my long solo odyssey – well, “solo” with Sunny Juliet as copilot!

Copilot Sunny Juliet

(Do you ever think about words for travel, as I do? For me, as I hear in it the French journée, ‘journey’ seems a day’s travel, whereas ‘odyssey,’ from the travels of Odysseus, I hear as long and challenging, and I also think of my challenging cross-country travel as a ‘trek,’ though I would never consider making it on foot.)


Garrison Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac” brings into focus the same/different aspects of any date on the calendar from year to year. For example, the first airing of the television show “Sesame Street” occurred on November 10, 1969, the birthday of both Martin Luther (1483) and poet Vachel Lindsay (1879). What would Martin Luther have made of Sesame Street? And I was especially struck by the variousness of events on “same” dates by Keillor’s noting that November 9 was the birthday of both Anne Sexton and Carl Sagan but also the infamous anniversary of the horrible German Kristallnacht.


Not surprising at all, this difference in “the same,” but I often find the unsurprising as much cause for reflection and wonder as something realized for the first time. 

Where I stayed this past week

I was glad to have loaner wheels while my car was in the shop.

Spending time in a place where I once lived (for many years) also invites notice of change. Kalamazoo was my home from December of 1971 to the fall of 1987, so now, while it is lovely to be with friends and family still here, others are with me in absentia, most notably the Artist, of course, but other friends, also. Ghosts appear everywhere -- including the ghost of my own former, younger self! The past tugs at my sleeve, whispers in my ear, and distracts me from the present with the urgency of Marley’s ghosts! It can be unnerving. Nothing went wrong in Kalamazoo, however, and many things went very, very right, mostly lots of time spent with those I dearly love. And yes, three visits in four days to one of my new favorite bookstores! 

Two more new books from This Is a Bookstore

Still, it felt good to resume my travels, barely ahead of the season’s first Michigan snow, which caught up with me in Amish Indiana, where my copilot was entranced by the sight of horse-drawn buggies on the road. But you will have to imagine those sights, as my copilot can operate neither car nor camera. She just keeps me company, but that's a lot.

Her new outdoor wear makes leash-walking much easier.


Dawn said...

I ended up ordering the book. Thanks for the referral!

Jeanie Furlan said...

Good to see that there wasn’t snow THIS time in Leelanau, but you certainly are courageous setting out on your cross country journey! I love the close up of Sunny! She makes me think that you have a “safety net" with her next to you, or at least good company!

P. J. Grath said...

An emotional safety net, I suppose, Jeanie. And I escaped the first big Michigan snow of the season: it arrived yesterday, on the 17th.

Dawn, I hope the book works for you.