When an elderly woman's stumble turns disastrous on a small-ship cruise in the Galapagos Islands, Sally Moir, a nurse on vacation, suddenly finds the traveler's life in her hands. Fortunately, all ends well, but Sally is left to wonder about the line between adventure and recklessness.
by Jules Older
OK, here it is — my dark secret.
No, first, let’s set the scene. I’m a professional traveler. I make a substantial part of my unsubstantial living by traveling the globe and writing about it. I should be good at travel.
I am… when I travel with my wife. We serenely swan into Portland or Ponce or Pittsburgh, where we observe, write, photograph, and leave. People say, “My, what a competent couple.”
Couple. That’s the key word here.
On a ski trip to Italy, when I drove on to Cortina, my right ski boot stayed behind in Val Gardena. Care to guess how much it costs to ship one ski boot across the Dolomites?
On recent trips, I’ve left my swimsuit in Miami, car keys in Montreal, camera in… I never did find where I left that camera.
Roar. We heard an earthquake-like rumble.
In Glacier Bay, an enormous, luminous, turquoise chunk sheared off the icepack and dropped in the water. The Grand Pacific Glacier calved before our eyes, as it had for John Muir on his Voyages of Discovery into Southeast Alaska. While Muir traveled by dugout canoe with the Tlingit Indians, we cruised on a small tour boat with a National Park Service naturalist.
“Mom, it’s awesome!” Ben said. I shrugged as if to say he could find a better word. He answered, “Okay! It’s glorious!” My fourteen-year-old’s eyes sparkled with a three-year-old’s look of wonder. The weary look born by too many video games slipped away.
Whoosh. Waves caused by the crashing ice rocked our ship. Silently, we exchanged wide-eyed glances. Transfixed, we feasted our eyes on the moment in time.
Whirr. A chill wind whisked off the glacier, swept through our layers of tee-shirts, wool sweaters, and windbreakers, brushed and reddened our faces.
Life stopped in Glacier Bay in the ice age. Rivers that once cascaded to the Pacific Ocean froze in time. These days, the aqua ice is melting.
Remember? Memory whispered, Remember how you first saw this when you were a young journalist, single, and so full of dreams? Twenty some years had passed since a pilot friend had flown me to Gustavus, sending me on my first venture into Glacier Bay. Within a few years, I married, moved to California, became a mom, created a home, and taught school. In showing Alaska to Ben, I returned to a familiar place. I realized that I had revisited it many times. Memory had been my constant companion and Glacier Bay a favorite place to travel.
Palm trees swayed in the breeze, the sound of waves were crashing on the beach, and beautiful Hawaiian girls danced as they dispensed colorful leis. All eyes that had the ability to focus were looking at the giant TV screen and the delightful scene as they enjoyed their armchair travel to Honolulu. Shirley was dressed for the occasion in her coconut bra. She wheeled around in her wheelchair as she modeled her vacation wear.
by Janet Eigner
Mother’s left the building again to search
for her husband, a year ago passed on,
says, "Do you know where Len’s gone?"
"Our charter...we can’t
guard her safely on this side,"
worries the director,
"Call in our movers."
We creep along the palm-shaded sidewalk
the pristine lawns, behind the scrawny,
muscled couple toting
the plaid sofa-bed, her queen mattress
sturdy chair with arms to push herself upright
cherry china cabinet to hold the proud evidence
they’d shed the immigrants’ threadbare cloth:
Lalique crystal sculpture, a sixty year collection:
Sister takes the small dove.
I warm the smaller owl in my palm
across the parking lot that divides each
past day lived in her vivid suite,
front door open to clan and friends,