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February 29, 2020: End of February

Leap year. Out February (the month I have a hard time spelling); out the door. A nasty month weather-wise; for me, the cold doldrums were broken up by a brief trip to the Lower 48. I returned, late at night tonight, to what I left behind, cold, wind, snow, the same old same old. It was like stepping back into the familiar old freezer and having the door slammed behind me. A very apt analogy, for sure.

It was just a tease, seeing what life will not be like here for another few months – El was telling me how she had her elementary students take apart daffodils – and she stopped and took one apart for me. The yellow was so bright that it hurt

It's good to be home
It's good to be home

my eyes. I was then struck by the realization that I won’t again see anything like it for another two months. What gives?

El walks around with binoculars. I should walk around with a magnifying glass.

And so how do I feel about being back here? The answer is quite relieved. I did have a wonderful time, in both Olympia, WA and in Portland, OR. They are not places that I could live – too many people and too little hand sanitizer there. But my fear of flying is a dark shadow (is there any other kind?) that comes over me when I commit to going someplace and then lifts when I get home. It is so bad that it takes a few days for my anxiety level to drop.

No one is happier than me when the plane taxis into the concourse area. I always thank the crew members who are there to say good-bye. I think that they are the bravest people in the entire world. They put their lives on the line most days for those who are unknowing subjecting themselves to considerable danger.

I made a logistical mistake yesterday. I thought my flight was departing this morning at 9:00 a.m.; however, it was departing at 9:00 p.m. this evening. My fear had lessened in thinking that I’d be flying during the daylight hours. Instead, I discovered that I would again fly home in the dark. This of course added to my feeling of closet phobia.

There was (this time around) quite a bit of bouncing going on mid-flight. Landings in Anchorage are always rough. I’ve been told that this is the most dangerous part of the trip. Uh uh. Those stomach wrenching drops; each one means you are that much closer to the ground. I always take great comfort in realizing this, as I do in seeing bright lights below. It’s then that I talk to the person next to me. They usually don’t talk back because I have, via my body language, convinced them that I am an aeronautical loose cannon.

I wish I could get over this fear. Well, this time it was a double whammy. There was both the fear of flying and the fear of catching the Corona (beer) virus.

Earlier in the day, El and I went to the local Bi-Right, a Portland five-and-dime, and in the parking lot, foresaw that the place was crowded. The clerk told us that, indeed, a good number of people had come in for hand sanitizer and masks, and oh yeah, guns. I didn’t say it, but I wondered if they were hell bent on putting themselves out of their own misery.

It is now 2:15 a.m. and I’m not making much sense. I guess I’ll sleep well tonight. Today I’ll finish my grant project and get the ponies out. Then it will be back to the same old same old.

Next: 60. 3/1/20: Yeah, in Like a Lion: A Conversation with Raudi

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