I am a little more than halfway through this 18-day East Coast excursion of mine — a mix of business travel, family visits, college reunion events, and everything in between. My trip has taken me from my home in Oakland, California to Baltimore, Maryland to Fort Lauderdale, Florida so far. September’s busy bustle has transitioned to October’s hum.
Back home, I hear the air is crisp and full of autumn’s promise. Here in Fort Lauderdale, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma has moved on, and a pattern of humid heat and periodic rain showers has set itself upon the region. The weather drifts from sun to clouds to rain to sun. The wind whips up a frenzy every few minutes ushering in unrest. I’m taunted by memories of being here with Mom and my sister back in February when the skies were near-perfect blue, the breezes were calm, and the beach beckoned us daily. The unpredictability of the weather this time makes a trip to the beach more of a gamble.
Mom is getting older and is having a harder time doing things for herself. She complains constantly, dampening the joy in the moment. My sister is dealing with a tumultuous relationship this week. I’m waffling between disappointment and optimism from my own life’s ups and downs. Like the weather, I go from sun to clouds to rain to sun again.
The daily news plays with my emotions even more. I am heartsick at the unattended suffering of those in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who are trying to unearth themselves from the aftermath of recent hurricanes. The past few weekends are filled with social media analyses of who’s right and who’s wrong when athletes draw attention to racial injustice by protesting the national anthem at football games. The President sends ridiculous tweets out every few hours like ballistic missiles, adding more carnage to rhetorical battlefields. The news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas brings whole new dimensions of sadness, head shaking, fragility, questioning, dismay.
As daylight grows shorter by the day, I am wholly aware of the drifting seasons. It’s difficult to summarize my mood from moment to moment, to draw any conclusions. Like the restlessness of the wind, the weather, the news, I feel adrift these days. But moment to moment is what I am given. And so I sit, I breathe, I close my eyes, I dream in memories of still times and set my hopes for the day. And then I move. Onward. It’s the only direction to go.