The trek restarts in the morning mostly with just trying to navigate the mess of traffic around NYC. Considering that not everyone has returned to work, this seems unfathomable.
But I suppose if the trains are still running at half schedules, thereby packing more people per car, the cautious thing to do if one must return, is to drive.
Better for health, worse for earth. Not so great for the commuter’s sanity, either.
We are moving against the worst of it though, and pretty soon we’re back to memory lane.
At first, it’s the remembrances of travels past.
The way the bridges used to work here, the improvements that a few decades have wrought.
The time they were driving up and the exit where they got off the road when a snowstorm made the road too dangerous; the underwhelming hotel they found to stay in just to be out of the weather, and how glad they were for it.
The towns they used to meet my aunt and uncle in, in later years, as a midpoint between them.
Stretches of highway rendered new and improved, towns thoroughly changed by time… and other portions that I recognize by sight, years of journeys to and from, decades of weekends spent visiting my cousins. My aunt. My uncle.
The path we would have taken, if we were going to their old house like we used to. The familiar routes since updated and rendered unfamiliar. The old restaurants visited, old hangouts recalled.
Arriving at the funeral home. The same one my uncle’s service was at. I see my cousin’s son, in his mask, and he’s the image of his dad when we were kids – for a moment I mistake him. His sister – a grown woman with a career now – is one part the little girl she was, and one part her mom when they met.
My cousins are both there for their mom. The older son much more changed physically, the younger masking as best he can what it is to have lost his remaining parent.
Other aunts and uncles, old memories dusted off and updates on all that’s occurred in the intervening years.
It’s a lot. And there’s more tomorrow with the mass and interment service.