Saturday, May 20, 2006

Greetings From Atlanta

Well, here I am in the Deep South, visiting my sister, having a small partial family reunion with some other family members who have also flown in for the occasion. An interesting change of pace and scenery.

Scenes from the day:

-Anxious couples rushing to catch their flights, babies and strollers flying everywhere.

-Security agents joking with passengers and being playful, returning a confiscated nail-clipper with a smile and admonition that it is contraband.

-A man on the subway who took a pack of Camel Filters from his shirt pocket and proceeded to do that ritualistic tamping down of the cigarettes by hitting the pack repeatedly against his palm. The look of utter concentration on his face as he performed this well-practiced ritual was intense to behold. He then held a cigarette between his lips as the train came to a stop. Perhaps he felt some nicotine seeping into his mouth through osmosis. Perhaps the taste of the cigarette between his lips was enough to mollify his craving for the time-being. I noted his barrel chest and spider angioma on his nose (small, red, broken capillaries) which spoke to me of years of hard drinking and smoking. His was a story with many fascinating chapters.

-At the top of the long escalator up to baggage claim in the Atlanta airport, there is an enormous and awe-inspiring mural whose centerpiece is a beaming African-American child with arms stretched joyously overhead, welcoming the visitor to this racially diverse city which was the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Apropos of Mr. King, on Monday we will visit the tomb of this amazing man, and see the home in which he was born.

The warm embrace of the South and of family is soothing to my spirit today.
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