Saturday, February 26, 2011


Man am I virtually hung over from the wonderful party we had here yesterday. There's plenty left over, so please feel free to help yourselves.

I'll be driving once more to Florida. Almost 1300 miles. Hopefully by tomorrow night I will arrive south of Atlanta. The weather looks fine once I leave snowy Chicago.

Orlando is my first stop in Florida. I must have a few days to say "Hi" to Harry Potter and the gang at Wizarding World. Let me know if you want more pics. I don't think it's changed much since I went in November. I do have many new friends since then, so I would be more than happy to write a post there and download some new pics for any HP lovers out there. Then I am off to Cocoa Beach for the remainder of my day.

Last year I wrote a fictional short story based on my drive. I'd like to share it with you. Have a great weekend everyone.

Through Shades of Gray
Ominous gray skies give birth to another new day. Always haunting, never pleasant.
Leaving the cold, dank winter behind, I start my car and begin to drive down the skeletal tree-lined street. Turning left at the edge of the park, I motor toward the highway, ready for my escape. The sunlight so present in the south has abandoned the north for what seems like years. Gray skies persist, day after day, and month after month. It has taken its toll on me. 

I have only one thought as I continue the long drive from Chicago to Florida: the sun. How much I took it for granted when I moved to Chicago four years ago from the very place I’m so desperate to return. Then, I couldn’t wait to move back north. I had missed the four seasons. Little did I know how much the north had changed. No longer did the bright summer days last forever. Overcast skies dominated, covering the little light that broke through the mass of clouds. When the green summer leaves turned brown, I ached for the crisp, sunny days I remembered from long ago.

This year continued to disappoint me just like the others had. The winds turned icy as the trees in the park withered. I looked forward to the first snow. The white powder clinging to the branches and edging the windowsills of buildings, frosting the city with an iridescent glimmer. 

Snow began to fall by late November. The magic was over before it began. The sun hadn’t shone for weeks. One day melted into another. What day is it? I kept asking myself. Is it Christmas yet? Not yet, but soon.

I recall how I couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over. For most, it’s a joyous time. It had been for me too, once, but lately Christmas seemed too much of a hassle. Honestly, I don’t know how I lived through this past year. New Year’s Eve culminated the end of yet another uneventful year.

Traffic halts as several Mack trucks enter from the on ramp. I change lanes, avoiding the caravan. Despite the congestion, I’m glad to leave the gloominess of winter.

This excerpt is from my short story that was a finalist in OPEN CITY magazine.


  1. The excerpt is timeless as far as leaving the city -- almost any northern city this time of year.
    Have a safe journey and lots of fun.

  2. I didn't catch the first HP post (will look), but yes, please share details/photos of your trip to Hogwarts! I'll live vicariously through you until I can get there. (Hopefully this year!)

    Safe travels,


  3. Careful driving, Michael. Mind your surroundings.

    Dragons still walk the earth -- they hunch over steering wheels, talking intently into bluetooth phones and not seeing where they're going!

    I still remember the non-stop drive from Detroit, Michigan to Lafayette, Louisiana my step-father pulled me through -- two days and nights of wearying travel. Whew!

    Enjoy the Wizarding World again for me. Sigh. I envy you both visits. Roland

  4. Safe travels, Michael! I enjoyed your excerpt--lovely writing.

    The weather down here is just perfect tight now. Absolutely gorgeous! The sun awaits your arrival. Wish I could afford to hop on over to Hogsmeade so soon...but we plan on going a little later.

    Enjoy your stay, and of course, post pics. We love pics. :)

  5. Safe travels and feel free to post photos. It's been a few years since I visited Islands of Adventure and I'm sure it's changed.

  6. Have a great trip. I am from the Chicago area (Elgin) and have lived in Florida (near Fort Lauderdale) for 34 years. Would not move back although I might like to move farther up closer to Atlanta or so. Have fun.

  7. Love the excerpt, Michael. Happy travels!

  8. I'm jealous. That would be over 2,000 miles from Colorado. Have a wonderful time.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  9. I hope you have a great trip. I hate the gloominess of winter too.

  10. Have a great time. We are heading down to Florida next month. We are driving too and not being far from Chicago, I feel your pain. Be safe and yes, post pics when you have time.

  11. Have a great trip! :)

    Love the excerpt.

  12. I Love the way even your choice of words imparts both sorrow to leave and sorrow to stay - that great hope of sun that will cure all the ills that are truly inside. Sun will not cure them - it doesn't go that deep - and the gloom is all the way to the soul. Awesome
    Now you know red ink is love so I have two tiny things - first when you turn at the park - give me a glimpse of it - how does the park relate to your gloom?

    Every truck is not a Mack truck - that is a brand and usually a smaller utility type truck - It is a cliche' - if they were two small utility vans (straight trucks) then give a name - were they Mayflower movimg vans or were they really big- semis? Kenworth - Peterbuilt - Western Star -Volvo - Freightliner - anything but the bland tired Mack. Maybe they are sad too with salt splatters leaving grime in an ugly arch across the trailers?

    Come visit me lol - you'll see why I picked on your trucks - grin.

    Your clouds have such detail - that you can't let the world be without equal description - remember - not everyone has been to chicago - you must take them there - and those of us who have want to know where you are - Are you on the Dirty Dan at the Kennedy expressway? Is that why the whole line of twinky trucks just dumped in front of you?

    It is beautiful - but it could be beautiful-er. As my old band director used to say.

  13. I guess I live where the winter is picture postcard perfect quite often, but then I've always preferred cold weather to hot weather. I could not bear to live in the humid, hot southeast. Good thing the world is full of different types! We also get a lot of rain here, (north Vancouver Island) and the passing grey days can seem to string to each other for weeks, but still, I see so much beauty here that I can't wish myself elsewhere. Today, again, falling snow, birds squabbling at the feeders, elk roaming at night around the property, and I have the peace of my wood stove in my studio. Have a great trip to Florida and be safe!

  14. We'll be sure to save some snow for you...

  15. Enjoy the trip and the sunshine!!! :)

  16. Love the excerpt MIchael, especially the first line! Safe travels, more inspiration, more stories. Congrats again on ABNA. I ate and drank myself silly with all those goodies. Now I must go...