Monday, September 17, 2007

Packing for Possibilities

It's not over-packing; it's packing for possibilities. My friend Deborah Hopkinson writes: "Be prepared for the weather in the Pacific Northwest!" So I try to do that. Friend Jane Kurtz writes, "Agree that it makes travel SO much easier if one only takes a carry-on bag." Right. Don't I know it. Still -- living out of a carry-on bag for twelve days on the road, I don't know. But I'm determined. I've sent Sweetheart Jim to the store for safety pins (don't ask), those travel-sized plastic containers (mine are full of who-knows-what -- must label next time), AA batteries, and quart-sized Ziploc bags (mine has finally worn out). I've paid my estimated taxes. Sigh. I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

I want to collect stories, like possibilities, on the road. Show me where you work, where you play, where you eat, where you shop. Here's where I buy my stunning wardrobe (and, according to some who shall remain nameless, it shows - ha!).

And here's where I buy fresh tomatoes:

Here's where Jim and I often eat on a Sunday evening -- we love the folks at Soul Veg, and the food is great, too. Jim is doing the obligatory "stand in front of the sign" pose.

I pined for this house in Kirkwood when I first moved to Atlanta. Isn't it gorgeous? It was in disrepair, but I was drawn to it like a moth to a porch light, I couldn't explain it. I felt the possibilities. Not long ago my friend Stoney told me that this was the old Dollar Funeral Home -- no wonder! I can just see Comfort Snowberger upstairs, in her closet, with Dismay, Funeral Dog Extraordinaire in EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS, can't you? Dollar Funeral Home. Judge Hatchett has bought this home (yes, that Judge Hatchett) and is restoring it, readying it for all kinds of possibilities. I bought a little house in the little woods that suits me and my family. We're creating a new life there, a life full of... you know.

What about you? Where do you shop, eat, work, play? What will I learn about you on this tour? What will I discover?

Possibilities. It used to be just-about all I had. When I was a young adult with two small children, on my own, possibilities were precious. We walked to the library each week, and we'd tote home books to read together -- they were full of possibilities. We took with us what I called "possible bags" (I may owe this phrase to Marguerite Kelly -- I studied her book THE MOTHER'S ALMANAC obsessively, trying to learn how to parent.)

We'd meander to the library, our possible bags clutched in our fists. "Look at this rock! It's so beautiful! A whole acorn! This leaf has four colors in it! Look, a stick bug! A roly-poly! A DIME!" Life was a mess of possibilities on those walks, and we collected our treasures, taking the time to look, to listen, to be. We had the time. And we had possibilities.

In THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS, life is a mess of possibilities, too. Will the boys get to play in the one big baseball game of the year? Will House's elbow hold out so he can pitch? Will Honey get to tap dance? Will Frances ruin everything with another interpretive dance? Will an old man's secrets -- and benevolence -- be discovered? Will another old man's sacrifice bring everyone together? Possibly, possibly, possibly. What a beautiful word.

I've got a suitcase packed with possibilities. Can't wait to see y'all at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hey there, Carol Moyer, Trish, Diana, Rosemary, Nancy -- I'll be there soon --