SEA TO SHINING SEA: MAY 11 - Gone to look for America

Aboard a brand new jet. Surreal and with a touch of 2001: Space Odyssey. BY DENNIS FORNEY
May 12, 2013

“Headin' out to San Francisco, for a Labor Day weekend show. I've got my hush puppies on, I guess I never was meant for glitter, rock and roll.” – Jimmy Buffett, Come Monday


Flying the Friendly Skies – On our way to Portland, Oregon and then on to Astoria to start pedaling east. One layover in San Fran.

Looking out the window, it looks like we're over the middle of the country. “We've all gone to look for America.” Paul Simon.

Meredith and Rob fed us pizza last night. Washed it down with Oregon wine and Delaware beer. Pinot noir and 60-minute. Coast to coast. Nice touch. Ford slept peacefully nearby in his little cradle, full belly, recovering from a cold. He smiled at us before Meredith swaddled him then went to sleep without a wimper. Nice when they do that. Fed us a lot of love.

Back on Jan. 5, John and I looked out from a duck blind on the marshy shore of an island in Chincoteague Bay. Just after sunrise. Orangish red to the east, over the thin dune-line of Assateague and the great Atlantic beyond. We heard the boat first and then saw it coming along the edge, up from the south, a flat-bottomed skiff hightailing it over the unusually calm bay. Rob and Matt.

“Rob must have gotten a call,” said John. “Barely had time to set out their decoys.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Meredith must be feeling something. She wants Rob to be with her. He wants to be there too.”

At home in Annapolis, she was feeling the stirrings. A few hours later Rob was back with her. The stirrings strengthened. Early Sunday morning, Jan. 6, Lankford Dorsey Owings took his first look outside the womb.

A few months later.

I think the murmurings of our pizza, wine and beer conversation kept him lulled. The subject turned to language. People these days use the word optics to describe perceptions, particularly in political terms. What will be the optics of such and such a person making such and such announcement at such and such a place? Jars me. Optics refers to glass in microscopes, lenses and binoculars.

Rob said linguists are discussing the evolving use of the word yo in inner-city Baltimore as a nongender pronoun. “Yo went down to the store,” instead of “he or she went down to the store.” In these days of cross pollination of the sexes, trans-gender and trans-sexual, gender has less importance and more confusion.

“And they love each other so. Androgynous.” Crash Test Dummies. Gender's not what's important. Love is.

Ford's going to grow up in a different world than we did.

Delaware passed a same-sex marriage law last week. Complicated but it was the right thing to do. Headin' out to San Francisco. Delafornia. That's what they were calling Delaware a few years ago when the General Assembly legalized medical marijuana. Gov. Jack signed the legislation but felt his feet cooling a few months later when a federal attorney general said Delaware's law wouldn't exempt the state from federal prosecution. Jack pulled the plug on moving forward. Let the bigger states lead the way. It's coming too and is also the right thing to do.

Pizza, wine and beer. Somehow the conversation, maybe the rhythm of dialogue, “Yo going to the movies with me tonight,” pushed my mind toward poet William Carlos Williams. He developed a rhythm of writing that he called the triadic foot. He was trying to capture the rhythm of the American idiom.

“And the moon rose over an open field.” Paul Simon

“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd.” Walt Whitman

“Something there is that doesn't like a wall.” Robert Frost

Still flying over the middle of the country. Somewhere down there tender little corn plants are breaking through the fertile plains of the midwest. In July, Lord willing, we'll pedal through them, waist high by then. When it tassles you can smell the corn permeating the air just as distinctly as wild magnolia blossoms on humid summer nights along the upper reaches of the Broadkill.

After it rains, and the evening stills, stand in a corn field and listen very carefully. You can actually hear cornfields growing.

Yo just pressed up the skinny aisle with an even skinner cart.

Lots of time up here in this flying tin can. Can you tell? “Ground control to Major Tom.” David Bowie.


Night, night Ford.

Happy birthday Tom

The universe – Our Town.

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