West of the Fields

A tropical ecologist reporting from the field. Musings on life and art, botfly extractions, tropical plant identification, beer, parrots, machetes. Etc.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summertime, part III

After Germany, I flew back to the US to do a book tour in support of Southbounders with my sister. Somewhat miraculously, our flights arrived on time (hers from Berlin and mine from Geneva), twenty minutes apart, and we met in the airport terminal without incident. I say “somewhat miraculously” since LaGuardia was entirely closed down that day with a bomb scare. Luckily we were at JFK.

We rented a car in Manhattan and drove all over the northeast promoting the book. While it may have boosted our sales, principally the experience convinced me that I never want to be famous in the larger world! It is so exhausting to smile at people non-stop for hours, especially when one is jet-lagged. The tour did have its high points, though. We finally had a chance to meet Roger W., who was instrumental in getting this edition on the market. He and his family invited us to stay with them in New Jersey for a few days, a welcome break from the hectic tour schedule. We also, quite randomly, met up with our old friend Heald and his girlfriend at one of our appearances in Maine. They were passing through and happened to see the poster.

The highlight of the summer, for me, was the few days that I got to spend on MDI with my family. The Island in August was at its most beautiful, the hills still green and the long light over the harbors enchanting. I had a chance to go sailing with an old friend on one clear, gorgeous afternoon. The blueberries this year are twice their normal size yet still sweet, thanks to the rain in July and then a dry August. I must have eaten gallons of them. One afternoon my mother and I hiked up the Precipice Trail (just opened, now that the peregrine falcons up there have fledged), and we wandered our way down over Gorham Mountain stopping at every berry patch along the way until almost dark. We caught the bus back to Bar Harbor just in time to hear the town band in the gazebo strike up “The Star-spangled Banner.” To my surprise, I found a lump in my throat. It’s still so weird to feel proud of my country. But I did, that night on the town green, feel so much pride and hope and such a wish to return. Someday.

Dixon met me at the airport with a bouquet of red roses and the world’s sweetest smile.


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