January 3, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush,

Going back to work after an extended time away is always a rough transition. You come back to dozens of little crisis that need to be addressed, piles of mail, and the sudden realization that time didn't stop while you were away. This time was no different--the clock most definitely didn't take a break and I have an unbelievable amount of catchup work to do--but there's still this strange glimmer of wonder and expectation I bring back with me when I come back from a trip.

Ever since I was a little kid, I remember coming home from vacations expecting to have my tiny world totally transformed. For some reason, I always thought the house next door would have been knocked down and replaced by a penguin sanctuary or that an amusement park would have been installed in the lot across the street. Of course, nothing ever happened in the slow, suburban town I grew up in, but that didn't stop me from holding my breath in anticipation as the family car rounded the last corner ahead of our house, softly choking in anticipation at the changes that had happened while I was away.

Even though I'm older and have come to realize that real change doesn't happen overnight, I still catch myself walking my dog through the neighborhood and thinking something amazing will be behind the very next corner. But, of course, the only thing amazing is the corner itself and the neighborhood it's in, and while that may not change much, it's enough to know it's there waiting for me to return and become a part of it again.

To returning,



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