Whoosh….whoosh…..whoosh…..that’s the sound the earth makes as it spins through space. We’re spinning around with it too and that’s the sound I make every day as I chop apples for my gallon of lunch salad, check emails for typos, and rush to post-work activities. Whoosh. Whoosh. One day, one night, and the Lord said it was good.
I finish opening up my Christmas gift cards and then it’s July 4th, 2013, the fourth anniversary of when I celebrated the Fourth in Boston for the first time, and two years since I graduated from college. In the whirlwind of numbers and dates and earth-whooshing, eight friends have committed to spending the Fourth together this year, and to caravan to coastal Georgia for three nights.
Down, down we drive from burbian Atlanta, through the forests of shapely Georgia pines and kudzu, and the atmosphere grows thicker as we become farther removed from our day-to-day lives and cross into St. Simon’s Island.
The office kitchen answer to the typical post-holiday question is, “Yes, I had a good 4th of July – you?”
But the long answer is rife with poetry as my heart bursts from my ribcage and sings hours and hours of loud, overly dramatic music.
“We laughed, but it wasn’t like normal laughter. This laughter was the wine of the gods. We spoke, but it wasn’t like normal words. It was like Homer himself, blind though he was, were composing our interjections and outbursts. We ate, but it wasn’t like regular food, it was like food we threw together in an amateur fashion but because we did it with a pure heart and clear mind, no one complained.
“And on the night of the Holy 4th, as we tore ourselves away from Harry Potter to go watch fireworks and a man wished me a happy freedom, I knew he spoke the truth. Accented by friendly interactions with strangers, and beverages that could slake even a horse’s thirst, we wove our own Southern Gothic, and I don’t know what that means.”
You can see why I don’t give the long answer.
Sunday was goodbye day and the day of three separate trips to the airport. After the dust settled it was just me left in Marietta with a cancelled flight, wondering what to do next.
I know the world is still whooshing around me, and in an alternate universe I would be too, getting sucked back into my usual orbit and looking at the backs of the same people. But for some reason, I’ve been spat out and I’m looking at the blur from a city that’s not my home, in a home that’s not my home.
Here in my orbit-less state, I can almost see the time passing. I’m being allowed to take a deep breath before I go under again.
From this perspective, I know something of the meaning of life was contained in our trip, in the wine of laughter, and in the night walk we took on the beach at low tide, the Milky Way out there clouding everything up and us all trying to catch the first shooting star.
With no moon, you couldn’t tell where the sand ended and the sea began and the air was the same temperature as blood. I know that’s gross to think about, but it felt natural. On the sandbars, it felt like you could walk forever into the ocean, black as night. And now I’m thinking that maybe, in another universe, we’re still walking into the ocean forever, the world whooshing around and we are holding hands and singing and laughing.
So yeah, Georgia was pretty great. Sorry I didn’t bring you back any BBQ sauce or home tattoo kits.