The festivities, curiously enough, are not in the town from which I graduated high school, but instead at the state capitol in Little Rock, 100 miles away. The reunion involves two functions--one Saturday evening and one Sunday evening. We signed up for both, but in light of the sheer wear and tear of being gone all weekend, we are going to drive up Saturday morning, and attend only the Saturday evening function, and then return home on Sunday. Then we'll have the Labor Day Monday to relax. I feel a sense of relief about the shortened schedule.
This is the space in which I should write all my insecurities and failings in high school, and also the part about how a lot of people with whom I was close will not be present anyway. But I think I'll leave that part out, because after all, high school was 31 years ago, and 31 years is too long to carry post-high-school-angst. What does it all matter? I am not sure.
I visited the website about the church choir reunion I attended some months ago. The pictures of me taken at the church and at a function the evening before were neither flattering nor unflattering, but instead life-like and realistic. They made me look my age, which is actually not at all a bad thing to be--my age.
I love a lot of things about travel these days. I love that Priceline.com can get me a reasonably priced room in one of the nicer places in the city on fairly short notice for a holiday weekend. I like that mp3 players are a wonderfully portable way to carry music about. I love google maps, and that cool thing that lets one gets a street level camera view of the place one is going.
Seeing old high school classmates should be fun. Yet the sense of reunion I'd like to have, sometimes, is with places. I'd love to see:
a. Petit Jean Mountain, in Arkansas, on a cool October day.
b. Pinnacle Mountain, near Little Rock, on a foggy January day;
c. The Pines hiking trail, in the Angeles National Forest, at 6 in the evening in September when the birdsong echoes from the tiny trees;
d. Sitting Bull Falls, an oasis of sorts in southern New Mexico;
e. Jollife Provincial Park, where one can see pikas in the rocks, in British Columbia;
f. Descanso Gardens, in La Canada, California during the November first camellia bloom, when the gingko tree is also in golden leaf;
g. Park Hill Prairie when the Spring wildflowers rage;
h. a lake on the Missouri-Arkansas border whose name I never knew, which I visited for but ten minutes, with a friend, while lost driving from hither to thither, in 1980.
i. Seal Beach pier, on New Year's Day, in southern California.
j. the Ouachita National Forest, between Perryville and Hot Springs, in Arkansas, driving abandoned dirt roads
past incredible woodlands.
k. some land owned by my father near Chidester, Arkansas, where my brother and I and cousins planted pine trees on two very cold Christmas holidays decades ago.
In life I find that people matter most of all. Yet my memories are so often of places, seen alone or with a few few friends.