By noon, the gears of travel finally begin to grind. I head to the airport, but with a brief stop at the FedEx terminal to retrieve the new camera lens that had arrived this morning. With an uncharacteristic smoothness in my travel plans, I arrive at gate C8. I think – maybe – that I might even have brought everything I intended. It hasn’t happened yet in eight years, but without any glaring packing errors, I consider the possibility.
My contentment is short lived. Two hours and 200 miles later in New York City, another moment of panic. I reach the gate for the flight overseas and the screen behind the check-in counter says Brussels is 68 and sunny. No. Were all those weather sites wrong? Have the continent-spanning storms just vanished? Have I upended my plans and budget and committed to a totally unnecessary diversion? I start sweating.
Descending through the clouds in the morning light over Brussels, I’ve never been so relieved to see a thunderstorm.