Archive for December, 2008

05
Dec
08

location: Idaho

desolate-drive

The last day of August, 2007, was the day I slipped thick plastic bags onto my queen sized mattress and box spring, taped them shut, and leaned them against my Wembley Court garage wall for storage.  For the first time in fifteen months and a few days, this pair, rests prostrate, one on top of the other, 700 miles away on Birch Falls Road, ready to do what they were made for — lull me to sleep.

More than 15 years ago, just after my freshman year of high school, I boarded a school bus to participate in a summer-long earth science class that would take me and 29 other students camping across thousands of miles, traversing the West and Canada.  The students and instructors were from other schools, and I knew not a soul.  (To understate, I was shy.  If I were to talk to a stranger my face would flush and I’d look for the first opportunity to get out of the conversation; I have no idea how I came to sign up for such an expedition.)  I remember the first night very clearly.  We drove most of the day from southeastern Wisconsin, arriving in a Minnesota field with enough daylight to pitch tents, cook dinner over our Coleman stoves, and have some free time.  I remember standing on a grassy hill, watching the approach of dusk, surrounded by 15 navy blue pup tents with the sounds of other high schoolers yelling and laughing familiarly with each other as I stared at the horizon.  In a quiet moment to myself, I panicked.  What.  The hell.  Am I doing.

I can’t help but think tonight I should feel the same way as I did those many years ago.  I committed to renting my Folsom house for a year, and I moved all my stuff into a room above a garage in someone else’s house — in western Idaho.  I know not a soul with 300 miles.  I don’t have even a prospect of a job or much of a plan.  Just the drive to finally do something that has been until now, simply put, an unattainable pipe dream: fly helicopters.  Though the clear panic is absent I wonder, What have I gotten myself into.  The panic subsided all those years ago when I realized that there is no going back, there’s only forward.  That same thought comforts me and keeps me facing into the wind.

But for the moment I am distracted by my bed.  It’s comfortable and it’s missed me.  Many an adventure I had while it leaned against the garage wall.  I’ve hop-scotched half the world and slept (or attempted sleep) on who knows how many beds, floors, couches, airplanes, air mattresses, camping mattresses, chairs, and grounds.  My upright Sealy moved not an inch.  And now, in its new home and I in mine, I revel in its comfort.

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Katie Albert

kalbfly@gmail.com

PO Box 6536
Folsom, CA 95763
December 2008
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