Tuesday, February 16, 2010
How do I find myself in Ohio, I wondered on the plane. I’ve never before traveled to this state. I haven’t heard much about it, other than having relatives that reside there. Unexpected circumstances have me settling in for a lengthy visit. And with mounting uncertainty, I quit the airport, with little option but to hope that my stay is pleasant and productive in some way.
Upon my first week, I made my conclusions about Ohio… It is spooky. I wake up in the morning and clouds obscure the sky, making it impossible to determine the time. It’s quiet. The neighborhood where I stay seems almost abandoned, as though all the residents have hibernated for the winter. It’s cold. I might easily be confused for the homeless, for three layers of clothing are barely enough to keep me warm. Looking out the window, the streets and sidewalks are still, without movement, except for the wind grazing the leafless trees. It almost seems like the world is mute, and, like a picture, it is caught frozen in time. At a distance, I see nothing but the promise of fog. With little comfort, I am reminded of the eerie town of Sleepy Hollow. It is just as smoggy here in Ohio. Not exactly depressing, but definitely cause to beware of headless-horsemen.
Afternoon descends and I can hardly detect the difference. There is no altering indication of its arrival. No signs of activity. Not a speck of sunshine. There is just a dull grey that hovers with no inclination to leave. However, I notice the streets are clean, almost consciously so. Trees and frozen ponds faithfully straddle the driven roads. Buildings aren’t cluttered by other buildings. Geese constantly fly overhead, from one end of the sky to the other. And no hordes of people tangle together, except to a 24/7sanctuary too overpowering for any man to refuse (or so it seems): WAL-MART. People pour in and pour out like zombies, not socializing, not conversing; they seem to be on a mission, too drawn into themselves to speak to those around them.
I can tell it’s nighttime now, only because the sky darkens. I rejoice in this sign of normalcy, even if clouds conceal anything beyond. Not much changes at night, other than the temperature offering to drop lower or the fall of snow. The former condition simply makes the cold air cut clear through clothing, while the latter, makes the ground and surroundings glow white. It’s pretty on the eyes but harsh on the skin.
During my time here, I was able to draw a pretty stable point of view. The best part of Ohio was the company I was with, and the enjoyably diverse activities we found - once willing to leave the house and face the weather. I also discovered there is fun to be had indoors as well, if one is enthusiastic enough to come up with games. This trip began as a last minute result, something sudden and unexpected, but it ended reluctantly and all too quickly in my opinion. Ohio may not have been on my list of places-to-go, but it is now on my list of places-to-remember.