It was a rainy Friday afternoon in early December. I was riding in the front passenger seat, having taken on the role of navigator with the help of the GPS in my phone. The three of us were headed to a cabin in Pennsylvania, a destination that only one of us had ever visited before.
The rain was steady. Moving through Connecticut, then New York State, then New Jersey, we approached the Pennsylvania state line in the midst of rush hour traffic. We had inched through the merge of 287 and 78 and called our hosts when we thought we might be only an hour away.
The rural location of the cabin created the usual problems with the phone connection; text messages remained undelivered or unacknowledged for minutes at a time. The friend in the back seat directed the flashlight app on his iPhone and read a print-out of directions that one of our hosts had emailed him to help with the final hour of driving.
We were three men, each around sixty years old, taking an exit off the interstate onto state roads with the expectation of a welcome and a well-cooked meal. The driver in these last hours of the trip was a gentleman I had just met that day, a longtime friend of the man in the back seat who had invited me. When I turned around at different times, I caught the familiar outline of his face by the light of his iPhone flashlight.
I was trusting myself with this man.
I was trusting that the New York friends who had extended this invitation to their Pennsylvania cabin were people I could like and grow to know.
I was trusting that the dog who lay so quiet at the feet of his owner was going to like me as well.
The rain grew heavier, the deeper into the back roads we drove and the closer to the cabin we came. Eventually a pair of headlights moved slowly in our direction, minutes from where the cabin should be. One of our hosts had come to greet us on the unpaved winding road on which his and other cabins faced.
The next morning we all sat with our coffee and looked out on a creek swollen by the previous night’s rains.
I had made my way into warmth.