Well, I made it back to Seattle fine. Bill and I pushed through the three days in a little car with only four gears and no cruise control. We listened to three books on tape, several albums, and even caught the Dr. Demento show coming into Portland last night. (I caught the Amtrak to Seattle this morning.)
The one frivolous goof-off portion of the trip was a fanciful detour into Salt Lake City, to see the Mormon Temple. Wow, folks. That's weird. I mean, I know we're weird and all, but it was a genuinely strange place to be. First there was the awesome historical significance of the place - most of Utah was built from that one city block out. The building was impressive (from the outside, of course... we weren't allowed in). But a tour through the visitors' center gave me the heebie-geebies. (The photo is me in front of a statue depicting John the Baptist's ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic priesthood.)
First, as Bill and I headed in, there was a virtual trainload of beautiful international young women guides pouring out of the place (probably headed for church) - like a Miss America pagent parade or something. When we did get in, we took a short walk through the exhibit on the Temple - I was caught by a film-let describing the ceremonies that take place inside, Bill was caught by one describing the eternal family business (Mormons believe one can be eternally married and connected with one's family after death). How seriously they took it was amazing - and of course they would... it's their religion. It was just amazing to imagine our two traditions ever being remotely connected. And, I must say, there is an energy to that place - it is obviously very significant to a lot of people. Enough about that.
It is good to be back home. Already, classes have begun (today), and I still have papers to finish from the last class. A lot of work awaits me here, too. But today, I'm just going to welcome myself home. My wife and our cat have first dibs on me. And nothing feels quite like a nap on one's own couch after a long trip.