Friday, August 17, 2007

Connecting Through Cincinnati

The plane is coming into Cincinnati Airport, over the intense green of Kentucky. There is the Ohio River, and there is the interstate and I know that the interstate falls in a long hill down towards the river and then crosses into the city.

There are so many rivers, the land is wrinkled with them. So familiar this place where I grew up, Cincinnati, this small town that happens to have a million people in it. A place I never wanted to be home because my life felt so small there and now it isn't because there is no family for me there anymore and yet it is so familiar that it is an ache. If I don't belong here, and nothing else is so achingly familiar, where do I belong?

And we fall towards the green hills, and I remember my cousins flying in from Arizona and the youngest kept saying what is that? what is that? and they kept laughing and saying, trees! So much water on a green green land and, I told my students in China, those children of farmers, where I come from, the problem is not drought but drainage, and they laughed.

And we touch down. I am here for thirty minutes, and then lifted away again, over a landscape, bird's eye view that no human should ever have expected to see. Icarus falling and lifted up again. Strange dislocations of technology. Temporarily homeless and in flight.


Blogger Karen Sandstrom said...

Man. That was crazy poetic, Maureen.
And all I can ever think at times like that is please-god-don't-let-us-crash-please-god-don't-let-us-crash-pleeeeezz.......

August 17, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Oh you made me cry. I'm serious, you did. That was achingly beautiful and sad. Played all my strings and left me wanting you to play some more.

August 17, 2007 10:19 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Karen, I'm lucky, I don't have that 'don't let us crash' thing. On the other hand, I love Elizabeth Bishops' "The Moose" which is, among other things, a bus journey, but my bus journeys involve me staring rigidly forward thinking, 'I hope I don't throw up'. over and over.

August 18, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

(Oh Chris, you are so rooted in landscape. I would have guessed you'd understand.)

August 18, 2007 9:36 AM  
Blogger Responsible Artist said...

Have I not begged you sufficiently to send me something rooted in landscape (emotional as much as the physical) for Silk Road? Scratching on the chair leg, looking up with moist eyes. This is the beg; it works for my dog and I've been studying. Won't you send us something and we'll give it back to last post in your blog?

August 19, 2007 9:18 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Speaking of water...when I flew home from Kansas City (land-locked city of fountains) after a job interview, we flew out over the lake before landing, and it was all sparkling, and I thought I could never leave it.

August 22, 2007 1:31 PM  

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