"Yay!" I exclaimed.
What's rarer than a cheer? Particularly nowadays. Sincere, not ironic. Private, spontaneous, enthusiastic, a cry aloud upon seeing something worth hurrahing about.
The top of our new tulip tree, planted on the parkway last year. It was bare buds when we left for Colorado last Friday, and sported a full crop of its distinctive, tulip-shaped leaves to welcome us back Wednesday evening.
It survived the winter. Which is not something new trees always do. A pin oak, several cherries ... I've planted, or at least caused to be planted, a number of living trees that quickly transitioned to elaborate sticks, dead as 2x4s.
The tulip tree made it to the spring. We all did. Yay indeed.
Though it was done on seeing the tree, that exclamation also conveyed general joy of return—one of my favorite parts of traveling is coming home. True for me and, I hope, for most, if they live in a halfway decent place, and probably even if they don't. The end of a long day: the 10 a.m. Uber to the RTD Park 'n Ride, the 10:52 bus to Denver International Airport, 1:45 p.m. flight to Chicago.
Plus I had extra lower expectations, as the six days we were gone coincided with remote exams week at NYU Law. I didn't even bother going upstairs to say we were home, and had tried to brace my wife.
"The kitchen will be messier than you've ever seen it in your life," I informed her, in the cab on the way home. "Approach the situation with love."
It was true that every dish he used was in the sink, and the dish-washer full of clean dishes we left behind was untouched. But it turns out using dishes is very 20th century—youth today consume directly out of the containers and, of course, Soylent complete nutrition beverage. It was 10 minutes' work to set it right.
I did pause, saddened, at the newspapers, which had been taken in ... and dumped beside the door. Still in their plastic sheaths—"newspaper condoms" as I call them. No relaxing from the rigors of the law with the high quality journalism to be found in the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Gotham-fixated and regularly-led astray-by-flashy-yet-marginal-fads New York Times, which tries, and is generally also worth opening.
I collected the pile, relocated it to the coffee table and dug in. Home at last.