Dividing My Life II
Bill Long 12/8/08
With A Focus on Travels from the Last Three Years
Here are the out-of-state trips I took in the past three years, with some indications on how I might "massage" them to bring meaning out of them.
1. February 2006; Garden City KS to lead a seminar on the Book of Job at a church. This was one of the first "rekindlings" of my relationship with former student Lance Woodbury, a relationship which is very important to my life now. I didn't write about this trip at all. The trip was in late Feb. 2006. I still recall the seminar...
2. Late April-early May 2006; Florida and then a seven day Caribbean cruise. Lots of stuff to be said about this; I was invited by a friend, the trip visited many places (some of which I wrote briefly about...) from the Dominican Republic to St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands, etc.). Here is one essay; many others are located near this on my "Reviews VII" page.
3. June (mid) 2006; flying to Cheyenne for the National Senior Spelling Bee. At first I confused this trip with my 2005 trip to Cheyenne for the Bee, where I drove. Some essays about at 2005 trip are here (and nearby essays). This kind of memory could take on a life of its own, especially as I focus on the National Senior Spelling Bee and my participation on it, from 2004-08. There are people, words, memories, all of which are important to me now.
4. June-July 2006 (June 20-July 4); Italy for two weeks. I was with a different friend, different from my "Caribbean friend," during this time. I wrote lots of things about this trip, and still the people and events "linger" in my mind. The essays begin here.
5. July 2006 (about July 18-20 or so); trip to San Diego to meet Dr. Bernard Rimland and folks at the Autism Research Institute. Here I could talk about my gradual introduction to the issue of autism and how that came about..and what I learned in San Diego.
6. July 2006 (late); trip to Boise, ID for a one-day conference on Asperger's Syndrome, led by one of the leaders in the field. On the way there I stopped at the Whitman Mission, where several things sunk deeply into my heart, and I wrote about them in these several essays.
7. August 2006 (late); trip through Seattle to Minneapolis for an autism and law conference (focusing on "first responders"). On the way to MN, however, I stopped and visited a long-time Seattle friend. I wrote about it here.
8. October-November 2006 (about eight days); trip to Washington DC, up to New England (RI and VT), return to DC, then fly to Louisville to meet with two friends and then return to OR. Here are a few essays on returning "home" to Brown Univ. The purpose of this trip was, ostensibly, to look for law teaching jobs, since my tenure at Willamette University College of Law was coming to an end, but so many other things happened on this trip! One essay, on writer Alanna Nash, whom I visited in Louisville, is here.
9. December 2006; trip to San Francisco Bay Area. Purpose was to see family, to sit in on some depositions on a lawsuit and, most important, to attend my younger brother's annual Christmas party. All three had implications which deserve some writing...
10. February 2007; trip to Garden City, KS, to the church in # 1 to lead a few seminars. Here I almost became snowbound, and I have some humorous essays on "climbing Mount Sunflower" as well as essays on other themes. The trip was important as I gradually began to develop relationships, through Lance, with some people in that town.
11. April 2007; trip to Northern CA for one central reason--to participate as a "listener" in a mediation session for a lawsuit. I stayed around for a few days, but I don't quite recall all that I did. I don't recall off the top of my head (though research will yield some help) if my interest in tree identification had yet developed. I think that my current fascination (some might say obsession) with learning "all the words" comes from an embarrassing slip up on a word in a March 2007 spelling bee in Portland. This slip-up meant to me that I simply had to know not only what a guenon was, but what all primates were. But then, why stop with primates? Why not do other animals, then plants, then trees, etc.? Then, when I realized that 2007 was the 300th year anniversary of Linnaeus' birth, the father of the binomial nomenclature system, I realized that I was doing all this study "in honor of" him. Thus, in some ways, if I was truly going to argue for a "transformative" moment in life, it would be missing a spelling word in early March 2007. Now, 21 months later, I am doing much better on learning "all the words," but I still have some words in English to go, along with several other languages.
12. May 2007 (late month); trip to Chicago for an autism conference. This was my first "full-blown" autism conference, where I met people and began to learn about a variety of issues faced by this rapidly-expanding community. The trip also roots other memories in my mind, especially the unexpected pleasure of meeting my daughter at the W Hotel in Chicago, where she was staying on business, and going out to "Pizzeria Due" downtown for an early summer dinner. I also visited the aquarium (very much in my Linnaean phase--taking notes on all the fish I saw) and went to Comiskey for a game. It was at this point that I think I devised a sort of "philosophy" of traveling, which I have since put into place with zeal. That is, whenever I travel out of state I will try to prolong my trip at least a day (if possible) so that I can "take in" certain things in that city/place that I hadn't seen earlier. In Chicago it included not only these things, but also a Sunday night concern at the Pritzger Shell near the Art Museum. The autism conference, then, provided the context for me to "leap off" to something else, something that was able to sink some memories into me...
As you can see, ideas are beginning to "explode" for me at this time. I would use this as an occasion to speak of another period of my life where ideas exploded--from about February to May 2003. This was about six months before I had my first introduction to Web technology, which allowed me to come to the "focus" of this web site. The period from Feb. - May 2003 deserves a book in itself.... Indeed, I didn't write about that time here, because I hadn't yet started by web site. I have about 15 densely-packed volumes of diaries from 1980-2003 on my shelves, and one of them goes through all those topics I studied in those four months in 2003....some day I may "publish" them here...
13. June 2007; trip to Cheyenne for the National Spelling Bee (mid-month). This also included a several-day trip to New Mexico after it was over, to visit Taos, Santa Fe and other places in between Cheyenee and Santa Fe. I did poorly in the spelling in 2007. In fact, everyone was expecting me "to win"--I cleaned up on the written test. But then, in the oral rounds, things fell apart. Maybe someday I will be able to win, but the issue isn't as important for me now for a number of reasons.
14. July 2007; trip to Phoenix to attend an autism conference. While there, I tried to put my philosophy in place by taking "plant" or "tree tours" of the conference hotel grounds (a resort), forcing the grounds manager to walk with me in 108 degree heat and point out all the local trees, plants that they tried to grow in that heat. Obsession, indeed.
15. August 2007; trip to San Francisco Bay Area to visit family. Indeed, this was a significant trip because it was the first one where I wanted to take my "tree-walking" interests out of state. So, I planned to meet up with a retired Stanford Univ. professor who had written a lot on the trees of Stanford, but he died two days before I was planning to meet him. This occasion led to some interesting experiences, which I chronicle here.
Well, I see I am about halfway through the list, and I must stop this essay. One more to go, I think..