Three small brown birds perch on an interior windowsill, high on the wall of windows overlooking gate C14. As I watch, one flies down to the carpet and sits beneath an airline wheelchair; two more skitter about, chattering. I wish I hadn't thrown away the crust from my disappointing airport pizza; I would have fed it to them.
I'm en route to Ohalah, the annual gathering of the Renewal rabbinic association, for the second time. I've imagined it often in the intervening year, picturing how my experience might shift as I grow deeper roots in this community. I've had a mental image of meeting with my director of studies, poring together through my big blue binders, which track every course I've taken and every paper I've written since I began the program. I was halfway to Cleveland before I realized I'd left the binders on the shelf.
No big deal; my director of studies has records of everything I've done, and thanks to this laptop so do I. And meeting with my spiritual director requires only presence, not documentation. Still, I feel some chagrin at having forgotten them at home. Of course, until I saw my internist two days ago I wasn't certain I'd be cleared for travel. Maybe it's no wonder I'm not as prepared for this trip as I would like.
My brief hospitalization has the strange quality of dream now. As though, now that I've returned to my life, those days will melt like a mirage. They won't, of course; next week will hold more tests, more looking for answers. Meanwhile I'm going to Ohalah, with my tallit and tefillin and blood pressure monitor in my rollerbag. The trip is unfolding against a backdrop I never imagined.
Then again, isn't that always the way? Soon I'll settle in to another smallish plane, read more of Tom Montag's beautiful memoir Curlew: Home, and let the universe carry me closer to where I'm going, one breath at a time.