It's early morning in a hotel in Dallas, somewhere near the "High Five" interstate exchange, "the largest of it's kind in the world" as the driver of the Checker Cab van from India told us last night. This wasn't my plan. I was picked up by Jackie yesterday morning in Naperville, IL, a suburb west of Chicago. I performed at College of Dupage the night before to a warm audience. The audience usually mirrors the intentions of the organizers, whether they are large or small. We flew a little together, though there was no dramatic lighting, or delay or other effects from the sound system. Jackie let me off at O'Hare, in bright sunshine. I worked on the plane from Chicago and as we got closer to DFW we got a grim weather report. Funny I usually check the Chicago weather report, but don't worry too much about Dallas. I've run through Chicago to catch flights more than any other airport, and one of my runs would have placed in the Airport-Dash Event in the Airline Passenger Olympics. I ran from the extremes of Concourse L to Concourse G with a saxophone on my bag and a backpack.
We landed in Dallas to snow! The airport literally came to a stop in weather that would have been considered relatively minor in Chicago. We sat out on the tarmac for over an hour. In that time an inch of snow fell. Then moved to another spot closer to the terminal. Then we had a gate. I was trying to get to Albuquerque. And I had a flight scheduled out from Albuquerque the next morning for Hawaii, via DFW! I looked at the board. The Albuquerque flight was cancelled, in fact, most flights were cancelled. I looked next for any flight going west and found a San Francisco bound flight. I took the train to that gate and found huge lines in line to board AND to get on the flight! Then became my struggle (and thousands of others) to find a way out. I stood in a line for over two hours to get a flight. During that time all flights were cancelled, though the snow had stopped. I made the decision to cancel my return to Albuquerque and go straight to Honolulu. The airline personnel gave me a card for a "Distressed Passenger Rate" at an area hotel and I called and got a reservation. Relieved, with a plan in hand, I walked toward the exit, thinking, now I'll waltz out and get a taxi and be in a warm room and sleep. I haven't slept much in the last few days. I waltzed out, as did the few hundred people who waited in the unusual biting cold. I played the "it could be worse" game. It could be 300 people. We could be surrounded by monsters, etc etc. People were warm and friendly. Someone passed around their Hawaii tourist snacks they had brought with them from their fresh vacation. We doubled and tripled up in taxis.
I had no problem sleeping. It was quiet and I was exhausted. Then at 2AM the alarm blasted. I turned it off. I stunned me at 4PM. I turned it off again, though my wise self said, "pull the plug". Nah, this should do it. At 5:30AM it went off again!! I pulled the plug, then gave up. Turned on the weather report.
Now I have my boarding pass for Honolulu, my bag is going to Albuquerque, and I hope I have all that I need on me for the next few weeks. Over two thousand people spent the night in the airport. Last night as I walked through the airport I heard a man telling another in the bar that he was spending the night there. Must have been some party. The problem with those parties is that there is a universal law in the realm of dualities that states: a high will be accompanied by a low. I kept my eyes open for Alfred Berryhill. The last time I was stuck in the airport we had a good time visiting.
And yes, India. I have been holding India in my heart, in the pace beyond words. Yet, there are words. And these words right now are beyond temporal time. See my next Muscogee Nation News column.
Most poetry for me, digs around in the "beyond temporal time" realm.
We'll see what happens.
Posted by Joy Harjo at 3:27 AM