Strange Return

Those two weeks in the Northeast, my allergies all but disappeared.

Coupled with why I was there, it was a strange return. When I think of comfort, I don’t think of the Northeast—and if you do, I’m sure your table is now ready in Valhalla. I’m sure the vanishing act was as much about temperature as that familiar flora. But as you know if you suffer this time of year, any relief is basically magic. I came back to Albuquerque, I restarted my magic pills, and all was quiet.

Then I went to Ampersand, land of a thousand junipers, and the histamines came back like a punch in the nose. Literally, a punch. As if those invisible clouds of pollen formed not a full body, but a fist, inside my body, and belted my sinuses from behind. My second night there I breathed through my mouth and thought about sleep, the way you do when you’re in line at the post office. Great plan, when I get home.

Then I came back to Albuquerque. Again.

And it was another strange return.

After the workday, I walked around as the sun crawled. I haven’t done much of that the last six months, for a few reasons. First, it’s been really cold, and later in the day means colder still. (I know, you get longer shadows at midday in winter; it’s still really cold. And I know, mile-high cold isn’t Wisconsin Cold. Shut up, Anders.) Second, I don’t like planning all day. When I get inspired, I want to go now. So it was a good plan, working till sunset where I most like to shoot.

And what I saw was something else. All these things—my time away, my return, my time away, my return, the sun setting now, and the endless boxing match in my head—left me clear in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. Everywhere I looked, something interesting was happening.

So I dialed a few dials, crouched, and pushed the button, savoring what Ansel Adams, and all the greats have said.

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