Sunday, July 9, 2006

He's Gone Again

Sunday, July 9, 2006
As I write, Bill of the Birds is high above the Atlantic, flying first to Senegal, and then to Johannesburg, then to Durban. He'll get in before dawn our time Monday, having been in steerage for 17 hours. I will be lying awake, hoping the phone rings to tell me he's wasted, achy, hungry and cranky, but on dry land again. When I last spoke with him, he was hoping his as-yet-to-appear seatmates wouldn't be overly large or talkative. Such are the things we hope for in today's hellish air travel scenarios. No hot lemon-scented face cloths, no nice food, no free cocktails--we just hope we don't suffer unduly. Ah, for the good old days.
Phoebe, Liam and I accompanied him to Columbus Saturday morning. We spent a full day shopping for Phoebe's birthday, eating out, and fooling around in a freezing airport hotel pool before turning in for the night. At 3:30 AM, Bill kissed each of us goodbye and slipped out into the hall, pulling his enormous suitcase ticketa ticketa ticketa behind him. Seeing him off was a good thing to do--we squeezed every last minute out of our great big love. He tried and failed to find a WiFi hotspot in the airport so he could say goodbye to you, too.We all miss him in our own ways. He's the center of our lives, a loving, generous father and husband.

I drink good coffee every morning
It comes from a place that's far away
And when I'm done I feel like talking
Without you here there's nothing left to say

In the past two months, he's been traveling a lot--a week in North Dakota, a week in Maine, and now ten days in South Africa. Parting with him doesn't get any easier. We get by, but we miss him terribly. We wish we could come along with him. We know that traveling is a big part of his job, and we love to think of him having great adventures and seeing new birds. This is a trip he couldn't turn down: digiscoping in South Africa as Swarovski Optik's guest. And so each of us burrows down into our own routine, and looks forward to hearing his voice again.The birds on Indigo Hill will all breathe a bit easier in the morning, knowing that crazy guy with the scope, camera and coffee mug won't be chasing them down.

Please come visit my blog where I'll be posting faithfully, and will give updates on his travels as I get them. I'm braced for hearing nothing, as we don't expect there to be Internet access in Kwazulu-Natal. Sigh. It's going to be a long ten days. If you haven't figured it out yet, it's Julie Zickefoose here, pining off.