It is Sunday; I start my journey back to Maryland on Friday. In the time I have been here, I have settled in, watched and listened, met a few old friends, and made a whole bunch of new ones. I have learned some things about clothing in North Platte, but more about myself. And wasn't that the plan, all along?
I have not blogged much in the last few days, though I have written in my paper journal and posted thoughts and pictures on my personal Facebook page. One reason is that I was writing a report that demanded several hours of research, thought, and writing every day. My word limit arrived with a bang by mid-afternoon, and I would be done with writing. But the bigger reason is that my head has been a jumble of confused thoughts, between the election, the death of my poetic ideal Leonard Cohen, and the sensations produced by being here, in North Platte, at this time in my life.
I drove into the Sandhills again yesterday, all the way to Thedford, about 65 miles north of here. It is desolate, yet inspiring, landscape. Driving -- most of the time as the only car on the road -- through the rolling grass-covered hills -- was like being on a small boat on the ocean. Except in the sandhills, the waves are standing still, and only you are moving. On the way north, I listened to side one of Leonard Cohen's "Live in London" album; southbound, I listened to side two. I played my favorites, "Anthem", "Hallelujah" and "Democracy is coming to the USA".
So how do I spend the next five days? There will be a visit to a local clinic, to deal with this lingering ear infection before it causes permanent damage, and there will be laundry. There will be writing in the morning and microfilm at the library in the afternoon. Probably more time in Cody Park, more sunsets (and maybe sunrises), and at least one more long drive besides the one to Denver on Friday. I am hoping for more new acquaintances, and good conversations. At some point, the North Platte that was has slipped further into the past, and I am firmly in the North Platte that is. It's a place worth knowing and understanding, for me at this precarious time.