Takeoffs and Landings

It’s time again.

I can feel myself walking through the airport terminal, glancing at each gate as I pass – some sections are completely filled, others, ghostly. I can hear the speaker overhead giving directions, calling out names and giving the announcement for the “final call.” The air is brisk, suspended and timeless as the departures and the arrivals change on the screen, ticking on and off in sequence. I glance back towards the baggage claim, away from the terminal and the over-priced “convenience” stores; but, then I quickly turn back and look out of the window at the landing strip, as one plane after another touches down or takes off. The moment is fleeting and I look up towards the gate and remember: It’s time again.

Over the last decade and a half I have jumped and leaped from one place to another. I have found myself often at the terminal glancing back at where I’ve come from, a somewhat understood comfortable space where I packed my bags and followed some sort of instructions from the agents guiding me through the gate. And then, as always, I find myself again looking forward at the next step, the next big move.

Today, I ended a 7.5 year stint in the South. As of this evening, I crossed back into my “home” state, which has become so foreign to me that I couldn’t even name the freeways I would be taking when asked by the OBGYN on my last hospital shift in Texas. It is a strange feeling. I have been away suspended in time at some far away place, now returning to a world that has changed. From the Teslas on every corner to the new buildings or the old ones – I don’t really remember – to the gas prices that are double what I’ve spent for the better part of the last decade. This is not longer a place I’d call “home,” but I’ve been living for so long on the airplane that the air seems more familiar to me than the ground.

The next adventure is coming. After 4 years in Louisiana and 3.5 years in Texas, I have retreated to my “home base” in California. I have been floating in space with a lost sense of gravity, and it is time for a landing. Yet, the time is short and I know that soon it will be time again to disengage with the world and explore higher atmospheres, new altitudes, possibly the rim of space.

So, what’s the update?! Where will the Nomadic Pediatrician be off to next?!

In 4 days from now I will be heading across the country to spend almost two weeks working in Bridgton, Maine. From there, I will head back to Huntsville, Texas for another two weeks. And from there? California? North Carolina? I have accepted a “permanent” part-time position with a hospital in Deming, New Mexico and soon, I will become one of their main Pediatric providers working two weeks a month for the next year. For the other two weeks, where? Pennsylvania? Missouri?

Takeoffs are exciting. There is so much unknown, so much anxiety, so much to come. No matter how much you try to predict the landing, you can’t know exactly where it’ll be until you are suspended in the air, looking down, studying the landing pad; and, even then the clouds may cloud the ground and you may land where you least expect it.

Although I can see the departures and the arrivals coming and going, the screen keeps changing and I’m always ready and waiting to see what will pop up as the next destination. But for now, I’m still wandering the terminal waiting for the flight attendant to call my name.

Photo Credit: https://tip-blog.com/2012/10/23/airport-silhouettes/

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