After a day of train, boat, bus, and planes, I’m back home. The highlight of my various forms of transportation was taking the water taxi from downtown Boston to the airport. It’s so cool that they have that option.
Also cool: the way MrMan seems to request dessert just so he can follow up with the request that we sit on the porch swing to eat it. Not to say that he didn’t enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, but he also (maybe more?) enjoyed sitting on the swing and chatting. As did I.
The days at APHA are always so full. Tonight, my belly is too. Thanks to dinner out with coworkers, where my whole meal was food I’ve never eaten: clam chowder and lobster roll. This was really my first time eating lobster. Weird, right? Especially for a girl who’s been to New England before. The thing is, my years from 15 to around 30 were spent as a vegetarian. Then, living in the middle of the ocean, I decided I should eat fish, and stayed a pescatarian once I moved back to New Orleans, since it also has a strong seafood culture (something I cared less about as a teenager). So, that’s how I made it to 40 before I tried lobster. As the state of my belly suggests, I liked it.
It was a good and full day. Connected with my MCH peeps from across the country, was moved by a session involving hugs and parents of kids killed by gun violence and former Surgeon General David Satcher sitting on the row behind me, teared up over the reminders that public health is doing so much good, swooned over a presentation by Sir Michael Marmot, teared up more over others speaking our passionately about the insidious disease of racism, connected with prospective students and alumni, met Boston Baha’is, connected with current students….
When I lived in Honolulu, I would often find myself marveling that we lived there. On a personal level, it was pretty awesome to experience the Aloha spirit in a beautiful setting. On a broader level, I’d have these thoughts as a stood at the window of my 19th floor office – looking at the hustle and bustle of downtown, the stacks of colorful shipping containers at the harbor, and then the ocean beyond, with only water visible to the distant horizon. It’s pretty amazing to live on an island in the middle of the ocean, to contemplate how people even came to find this relatively remote land mass and eventually established and now perpetuate a society and economy linked to the rest of the world. (We won’t delve into the darker aspects of that right now.)
I kind of feel the same way when I fly out of New Orleans on a clear day. As soon as we’re airborne, it becomes apparent just how surrounded by water we are. As recent history has shown, this blur between land and water has its risks. But it’s also part of what makes me love my home. Flying above or driving past the river, the lake, the swamp, reminds me of how full and lush – in every sense of those words – life here is.
On a personal level, I feel lucky that, even at this time of year, MrMan can point out a bird of paradise on our morning drive to school. I appreciate the greenery everywhere. And even, most days, I appreciate the humidity. When I take the broader perspective, from the airplane window, I appreciate that hundreds of years ago, others found this area, in the midst of all this water, worth settling.
I was sitting here, pondering, and realized it was November 1, so figured I might as well turn that pondering into writing. It’s like a sickness – even with a dormant blog, I can’t resist the siren call of NaBloPoMo. We’ll see if I make it through the month, especially given my track record with blogging in recent years. So…
I was sitting here, pondering the possibility of needing to leave extra early for a flight tomorrow morning. I’m flying from New Orleans to Atlanta to Boston, nowhere near LAX, the site of today’s shooting. But I can see TSA being extra thorough across the country. I would guess flights and equipment and crews have been thrown off shedule and location by one person killing another and shooting more.
I don’t know the gunman’s motivations. Even if I did, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t understand how that translates into shooting his way into an airport terminal. I don’t know if he wanted to be seen and to connect with others, but he achieved it. I wish it had been in a more constructive fashion.
“It is obvious that all created things are connected one to another by a linkage complete and perfect, even, for example, as are the members of the human body. Note how all the members and component parts of the human body are connected one to another. In the same way, all the members of this endless universe are linked one to another.”
Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, page 48