Saturday, January 21, 2006

from new haven: adjusting

A gala night. Roomba food and Claire's cake, gifts and kisses, candles. True, my girl turned twenty-one a day ago, but her’s is a protracted celebration. She is adjusting to our visit. She is willing to party for a few more days.

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She was born on the coldest Wisconsin day of the century. And she kisses childhood goodbye on the warmest Connecticut January ever. A girl of extremes. The superlatives that I would insert here would leave her blushing.

Looking out of the hotel room now, I think about the first trip here some seven years ago, when I helped my older girl, her sister, move for the first time to attend college. They both share the city now, but back then, kicking that first bird out of Wisconsin and pushing her to stay out east felt difficult, to say the least. That she adjusted well is beside the point. It’s my own adjustment that kept me up at night.

The view outside is not all about Yale. The right corner spires are church spires that haven’t a thing to do with the university (the left side, though, is university through and through). Yet who would doubt that this is Connecticut.

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And so is this:

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It’s a place you can walk to in less than an hour from New Haven’s downtown. And if ever there is a day for walking! Of course, the riverbanks are dormant. It’s January, come on, how can I expect the warmth to be anything but an illusion, a cheat, a tickle and reminder of what it will be like three months from now.

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On the way back the girls (can I call them that still? No? Okay, let me begin again:) On the way back the adult daughters lead us to a place that is not a flower shop, not a café, not a take-out food shop, but all the above. I would kill for this in Madison. I would even adjust and start eating lunches, if they could be like the one wolfed down here.

Naturally, I had to make a spectacle of myself by photographing that, which I would only have great lust for:

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…before settling down to what I would actually consume.

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We are moving to America for a few years, I was once told. We’ll be changing homes, back and forth. You’ll have to adjust to life there, then back here again.
Really? I can deal with that.

Look outside, it feels like spring, here, in Connecticut. I hear it snowed in Wisconsin. The walk to work will seem long and cold there again. The daughters – far again, the lunches less tantalizing, the work mounting. The ice boats cracking the lake, the granola and berries in the morning predictable and satisfying. Back and forth, back and forth.