WITHOUT fail, whenever I set out for Key West, I feel an unreasonable sense of excitement. There’s something about the venture that feels just like freedom, and the drive is so very beautiful, and (just a little) different every time.
But the fact is, I almost always come back feeling a sense of disappointment with my experience of the distant port city at the end of the line. But that’s hardly the fault of Key West. It’s only a place, colorful though it may be, and can be only “what it is.” I guess at times I can get things confused in my mind, and mistake the importance and real fun of a journey for the experience of its destination.
But even in the depth of such moments, sometimes, the clouds fogging my mind will suddenly part, and I’ll remember (now that’s its behind me and added safely to my treasury of memories, there with all the rest), the journey and its simple sweetness; all of the easy and extraordinary sharings, small and large, that I cannot necessarily know will ever again be repeated, but of course choose to imagine, will… and the gossamer gallery of images that have somehow become flash frozen into my memory (never really knowable as they’re happening, it seems),
and I’ll find a smile upon my face, despite myself, that’s caught me unawares.
And too, on occasion, a light touch of melancholy, as when I once again remember that every song that’s begun, no matter how brilliant the blaze of its moment of finest glory, must at last reach its end, and return to its source in the silence.
Part of us realizes this, and we love music all the more for it, and not less.
And in such moments of clarity, before the clouds of distraction and forgetfulness have yet again begun rolling in to join together, tight, how can I not feel gratitude to Key West, for having given me reason to first set out upon the journey?
(Image: Wolfsonian/ FIU Archives)