My vacation smelled of warm strawberries and spent gasoline, of hot sidewalks and sneakers and strangers.
A day into my trip, I found myself at a barbecue full of pleasant strangers via a cute bar and a pleasant couple of fellows. Friendly accidents and happy adventures and I are best friends.
Sleepy and wandering aimlessly through a museum, I was unexpectedly pinned by a painting I couldn't have anticipated, nearly overcome with an urge to distract it by throwing the contents of my pockets in the air and running away. Only my pockets were empty, and I was sure that the painting was smart enough not to be fooled.
Very late at night I sat in the window of a bar making up stories to myself about the all-night flower vendor on the corner below.
At the diner a man with a heavy accent carried my plate to me with both hands, arms outstretched, like an offering. I moved the little paper cup of coleslaw on to the table top and took a bite as he stood over me. "Is good?" "Is very good," I answered truthfully. "Do you know why?" Mouth full, I shook my head. He winked heavily, his upper eyelid folding over the lower. "No, you don't know why. Is secret."
For days I forgot about Seattle, but sitting in the airport listening to my headphones the bass line of a song from home turned something at the bottom of my spine and I found myself suddenly hungry for my life here, for its green smell and its clear open spaces and its funny little pockets of loneliness.
Sitting next to me on the airplane was a very old man doing a crossword in a Cyrillic alphabet and a monk in orange robes. Had we spoken any of the same languages, the Russian cowboy, the monk, and me, we could have written a musical together.
Flying home four hours later than expected through completely cloudless skies I watched the moon catch the surfaces of rivers below me, serpentine bands of gold in otherwise vast and empty landscapes.