Whale Ways

I just came across a new favorite phrase: Whale whiskers.

They are mammals, after all. Just not the hairy kind.

Apparently, whales are like cats in other ways.

Some whales seek out Whale Watcher tourist boats and gleefully roll over—just so that people can scratch their bellies.

Scent of Freedom

My least favorite moment on a trip: Leaving a nice hotel room.

That last click. The key card left on the dresser. Letting go of the brief, private kingdom—a luxury space that is mine for a day, or two, or three. A space where there’s no need to clean or cook or negotiate any part of everyday life.

Sometimes, when I come home, my clothes still smell of the room—Aromatherapy Orange Ginger Shampoo. The scent of freedom.

On a recent trip to Denver, I hoarded seven of the tiny bath bottles—a couple lotions, conditioners, and three shampoos.

Such nostalgia can linger in unforeseen ways.

At the airport, I got stopped and searched at Security. I had failed to put the liquid-containing bottles into their own, private quart-sized plastic bag.

And so, I missed my flight home.

Extended Summer

Spring comes two weeks earlier in the city of Baltimore than it does here, in the suburbs, just 12 minutes to the north.

The cherry blossom trees, the magnolias, and the forsythia, are full and flowering as I drive south to campus; it’s like a time-elapsed video.

The drive home, a  few hours later, is a journey of reversal–from bloom to bud to bare branches.

I suppose it’s the heat in the city, heat trapped by concrete and asphalt, heat that translates into elongated summers (even the city’s autumn leaves hang on well into November, weeks after they have all dropped into the streets around our home).

Perhaps Baltimore–with its Mason-Dixon borderstate mentality–is truly more southern. Or maybe the city could simply use cheering up: One less month of winter every year. Seven more years of warmth in a single Baltimorean’s lifetime.

I just know that I can’t help but be jealous.