Left with $400 cash; returned with $247.50.
Left with ten packs of Marlboro Ultra Lights; returned with six packs.
Left with three pieces of brand new, lime green luggage, secured with TSA approved locks. Returned with one lock and zipper missing, worn and blackened bags and pawed-over personal items.
Left with an ebb of excitement. Returned with relief to be home, aware of the cost of a compounded mistake.
Left with an instruction manual and new digital camera. Returned with images of daisies, streams, granite and slate, thin-slatted barns, granite and slate.
Left with easily-removed sandals. Returned with the demeaning experience of TSA security measures invoked over a recently-expired drivers license. A receipt of renewal was not enough for the guardians of the "homeland." This "security threat" was whisked under an arch. Told to stand in the yellow footprints while puffs of air blew out from all angles, inspecting my orifices for hidden explosives. Still not enough. My carry-ons jerked around, pulled and pawed at; my journal, underwear, socks, camera and other random items splashed with invisible paint, held under a light and inspected for danger while I stood in place, barefoot, silenced, coerced into vulnerability, dehumanized.
Left with the memory of Bart from Vermont, our guardian of the woods. Returned with refreshed favor for Vermont natives.
Left with doubt about my Florida sighting of a scarlet tanager, its latent symbol. Returned with a sureness of its imperial beauty, the mocking beauty fluttering and laughing amid green lushness.
Returned with three Vermont souvenir tee shirts, a collection of Vermont syrup and chocolate but no cast iron stove.
Returned with an expensive reference for MFA programs: the unsettling contrast in administration, and especially the recognition of things that ranged from stated student preferences in housing, to student program placement, to students access to the program director,which is connected to the hugely important desire (or absence of desire) to recognize and communicate with students.
Returned with the experience of Marie Ponsot reading her poetry; a quick chat afterward; her startling blue eyes.
Returned with just discovered appreciation for the poetry and prose of Elena Georgiou.
Returned with the recollection of a brief conversation with Rachel Pollack during the first evening's "mixer" and the subsequent realization that I own one of her books: Dali's Tarot. (out of print and selling used at this site for $50).
Returned with the following books: Walt Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass; Harry G. Frankfurt's On Bullshit; an anthology called The Haiku Year; and a poetry chapbook relating to Salem, MA, which disappeared in flight.
Returned knowing that Vermont is too much solidity, too much enclosure, too much impenetrable surface for me to thrive. Something about the shadowy hub of mountains gives me the sense of imprisonment.
Returned knowing I will return to L.A.