As I do my laundry at the laundromat in lieu of broken drier belts, and wander around State College with the view of Tussey in the distance, I find my throat feeling funny. Funny as I run up the steps at my house, funny as I squat down to watch a congregation of Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Chipping Sparrows, Nuthatches, Mourning Doves, Grackles, Robins and Chipmunks scour the ground below a birdfeeder that I never knew existed outside of a pet supply store. As I approach, they scatter; when I leave and return after moving my clothes from the washer to the drier, they have returned. A funny series of birds, these: birds that six months ago I couldn’t have identified for the life of me. I might have guessed that a robin is a robin and a dove is a dove, but wouldn’t know with any certainty. Now I study their behavior, their flight patterns, their calls, adding and recategorizing the information in my brain.
I don’t know why my throat feels the way it does. Pulse is a little high. I did sleep almost twelve hours, probably in some cockamamie positions on my hard, barely carpeted floor. I have been smoking a few too many cigarettes. Yet the feeling is weird. A sensation I’ve never felt before. Not quite painful, just strange.
I feel fairly calm on this day, Sunday, before we export everything we need along with our bodies to the west coast via a rented 2010 Toyota Carolla. This isn’t my first time going on a trip of sizable distance: earlier this year, I partook in a school trip to Vermont and Cape Cod, about nine hours away. But this is going to be a solid 24 hours to just our first destination, Boulder; then another 12 to Boise; then another 12 or so to Buckley, WA. I will be seeing a friend I have known for nearly a decade but never in person.
I think it will be fine. I suppose the weird lull in my throat is an expression of a subconscious nervousness. The trip is not as well defined as the school trip. Money is much more of a necessity. Gas, food, sleeping, car rotations, directions – all our responsibility. Again, I don’t feel worried: GPS is fairly reliable, and the scattering of gas stations and interstate grocery stores is downright ensured by America’s capitalistic mentality. So that is comforting.
I am excited. I am excited to see new birds, new landscapes, new civilizations; meet new people, meet old friends. It will be great.