I've made the drive out here three times, and once back to Mississippi (I flew one time, and this last time, I've not gone back). The drive is grueling, taking about ten hours, though it is a straight shot down Interstate 20. It's not a particularly scenic drive, just typical Interstate travel through patches of pine forest regrowth and varying levels of suburban sprawl. But there are some interesting vistas from some pretty high hills (Appalachian foothills?) at elevations up to 1000 feet starting around Birmingham, Alabama. They level out by the time you reach Georgia.
One of the drives out was most memorable for being sheer, gut-wrenchingly, awful. That was when I went to spend Christmas week with Donna and take a first load of our stuff. I towed a uhaul trailor behind a borrowed Toyota Tacoma through the cold dark and constant rain with stormy stretches. Often I couldn't see where I was going. The trailer slowed my truck's progress and made it unwieldy on slick roads. I had to pay close attention as I often couldn't see very far ahead because of the dark, the rain, and the constant stream of warehouses-on-wheels (trucks). I was "flying by instruments" most of the way--relying on my GPS (Global Positioning System) device to keep me on track. Very often, I followed the GPS graphic as much as the actual road.
I've never owned a GPS until I bought one to make this trip and to guide us around Columbia. It's an amazing little box that strikes me as the pinnacle of human technology. It knows the roads to everywhere and can detect elevations and speed limits. Sure, you can find the fuzzy limits to what it knows, but the very fact that there is a humongous area of nonfuzzy info is just barely short of miraculous. Based on a street address, or sometimes just a business name (or even long/lat coordinates) it will guide you with voice and graphics to your destination. If you take a wrong turn, it will make the adjustment within seconds and guide you from where you are. It has taken me all over Columbia and the surrounding region and greatly hastened my learning my way around. Yes, it has short-comings. It is ultimately toxic to the environment like all digital technologies. It propagates the life-shortening pollution of microwaves. It is a tracking device for the NSA. People take these devices for granted and give no thought to what's behind them--they're just too useful to abandon (which could be humanity's epitaph).
Forgive me, I digress.
So my arrival at our little rental in Columbia filled the house with boxes of our essential stuff. A lot of my two weeks since has been unboxing it all. I've contributed a lot of boxes to the local recycling effort, which seems to be a good one and I give them credit for that. I would like to have saved the boxes, which mostly came from a Wine-and-Spirits store (boxes just the right size), we've no room to store them. In fact, there is little room in our rental that is dedicated storage space. That means we share our living space with our stored items and it has led to some creative setup in the house. It works, though, and makes me think it's better to pay less for a smaller space and make good use of drawers and cheap storage cabinets.
My computer made the trip successfully and I've setup my study/library/office so I'm online again. Of course, there have been the myriad details to attend to, like getting new driver's licenses and car tags (and fighting the bureaucratic inertia of such) and making the required adjustments for car and renter's insurance. But we're mostly through all that now, and I can pause and think about what I want to do for the first time in over two months.
South Carolina is a lot like Mississippi in ambiance. It's still the US South. There are subtle differences, however, that probably come from influences filtering down from the northeast. Like wine and spirits being more openly acceptable. It seems every store, from grocery to furniture stores, has a decent wine section. The quality and number of good restaurants is also impressive.
The mar in all this is that the SAG spraying overhead is horrendous. It is far worse than what I saw over Mississippi and that was bad. On a "clear" day you can see as many as five jets in the same area at very high altitudes, flying in crazy, overlapping patterns as they release thick plumes of aerosols. I suspect this is partly in support of Winter Storm "Juno" the geoengineers have created for the northeast. Geoengineering is the consummate horror of our times and my work will always include activism against it.
Regarding my work, I'm ready to get down to it, revamp my web presence and put out at least two books and all the other writing I feel the inspiration and need for. Stay with me.
So we're here, and life has changed. I hope to settle into a life more literary and engaged, write my books and create an infrastructure to support them. And maybe learn something in the process that I can share with you.