Like many points of modern departure the Portland airport is clean and sterile. After weeks of chaotic movements and unstable sleep, there is at last a sense of calm in the orderly collapse of the possible trajectories into the certain path of the jetway. In another time I might have felt a deep discomfort in the sterile efficiency of these surroundings. If such feelings begin to emerge now, they are quickly stymied by the chaotic tumult of the Air Condor ticketing counter and the sweating disorder of the human throng.
This is the third ticket I have purchased. Val and I have formed the sketch of a plan during her last visit; we will ride a motorcycle along the Mediterranean, through Eastern Europe, into Turkey, and following the invisible winds of instinct, at last into an abstract beyond. After a month of planning however, we are left with few plans.
As we have navigated the corridors of this new beginning there have been intricate suggestions by fate, both the subtleness of an inexplicable nose bleed of a driver, and the brutal overtness of the impact into the rear pannier of the vstrom 650 we had planned to ship from Vancouver to Rome.
Retuning from my studio a week before our scheduled departure, I am thrown into the air. There is little warning, only the sudden jolt and a brief flicker of realization. As I lay on the ground listening to the sickening crunch of metal, plastic, and glass, I notice that my torso is perfectly aligned with the wheel of the oncoming car. There is a stillness and the moment of uncertainty ends as the driver comes to a halt.
I seem uninjured, and there is even a moment of comedy. As I try to pick the heavy motorcycle up, still unsteady, I teeter on the brink, one foot in the air and the risen motorcycle is poised to fall now on the other side. A nearby bystander however grabs my upturned heel, and together we navigate back to earth.
A great misfortune? I am completely uninjured, and I have received news on my way to the airport, on a new flight to Frankfurt, that I will receive an generous payout from the driver’s insurance. Walking through the airport I look out on the distant mountains, gleaming in the sunny, and regard the polite, kind people of my city with the sudden eyes of an outsider. Confronted by the certain hubris of all plans in the face destiny, there can ultimately be only a surrender into the currents of the journey to come.