What a blessing it is to travel!
Recently, sweet September winds blew me into one of my favorite cities: Washington, D.C. At the start of my journey, the weather was perfect for gazing out of a tiny Delta window to admire a stretch of cotton-candy clouds drifting lazily against crystal-clear skies. The novel on my lap struggled to maintain my flagging attention as the sweetness of the day, unapologetic, charmed me shamelessly. Pushing into my revelry, my seatmate cornered me with a bright-blue gaze and began chattering. Behind my half-interested smile, I wondered why it was forever my luck to attract the most loquacious seatmate on the flight, but her witty tales of her cats' exploits, complete with sound affects, weren't terribly boring, so I gave myself over to half listening and reading and admiring the Divine's handiwork.
Minutes before we touchdown in Baltimore, rain painted the sky a foreboding navy, and, walking out of the airport, I shivered as the breath of fall greeted me, trailing goosebumps along my arms under my light pink shawl. Brendolyn, my hostess and longtime, beloved Tuskegee Institute sisterfriend, one of the founding members of D.C.'s Daughters of Isis Book Club, had advised me to fly into Baltimore and take the train into the District. Considering she worked a few blocks from Union Station, I knew she'd retrieve me as soon as she got my text. That left the purchase of a Mark train ticket (as the Amtrak was $58) and I was off, enjoying a vibrant conversation with a lovely Delta flight attendant heading home. I passed her my cell phone to snap pictures of me on the train and at the station, our conversation popping from possible titles for my next book to her daughter's literary tastes to the valley between the price of our $6 train fare and the Amtrak fare to the beauty of shawls.
At Union Station, we parted, hugging, and I winded my way to the street-level entrance to await Bren's call. Before it came, I considered retreating inside the belly of the station, the wet wind leaving me shivering yet excited about being in D.C. again.
Bren and her jovial hubby, Mike, are a lively, artsy and fun-loving twosome. Visiting them is the equivalent of a resort vacation! There is always an exciting activity somewhere on the visit's itinerary. This time it was The Ivy Foundation in association with Bren's AKA sorority presenting its "Crab and Pearls: Treasures of the Sea 2011 Crab Feast." Never having pledged at Tuskegee, I savored the line of dancing AKA's, pretty in uniform black with the characteristic splashes of pink and green, the scrumptious buffet, the get up and shake your groove thang music and the unbeatable company around my dinner table.
For much of my visit, though, I relaxed and enjoyed several books being that the writing of my own books didn't leave much time for my personal reading, a simple pastime I adore.
On the day of the Daughters of Isis Book Club gathering at Bren's cozy, three-story home, she spent a sizable portion of the morning preparing a meal--I was to learn later--that replicated the meal served at one of the book club meetings in my novel, "If You Love Me, Come." And I never recognized it, not even as she put me to slicing and dicing vegetables and fruits to compliment some of the dishes, the meal so incredibly delicious!
When the gala began and I found myself seated before the eager-eyed, smiling members, I was filled with exhilaration. The exchange sent embers of sisterly camaraderie, enthusiasm for the story, insight into the characters and their motivations and input from each Daughter that shed a special light on the give-and- take of our electric conversation! I loved every moment. They proffered marketing tips and suggested ideas for connecting with sisters in England. Many commended me on the theme of motivating women to honor their voices. Their questions pithy, thoughtful, the women represented the different walks of life, some having once lived in England and Jamaica, some retired, two members a mother-and-daughter team, all expressly unique and articulate.
Breaking bread with them later was as exciting as engaging them in conversation. Most had traveled the world, spicing the dinner conversation with delectable snippets proving as appetizing as the repast. I missed them, even while they gathered their wraps and hugged me, whispering how much they enjoyed me and my enthusiasm and wishing me well on my literary journey. I shall long cherish the emotions cloaking my heart that day, emotions for life, my art, our exchange, women coming together to read and share and inspire one another, all of it filling me with a soul-stirring joy!
Living a golden life....
The Golden Goddess