Home Sweet Home

I arrive in total darkness, acutely aware that we are only days from a new moon. Everything about the walk from my driveway down the trail to my cabin feels right, except the dryness of the air. A Carolina June in this temperate rainforest should feel dripping, soggy, thick enough to swim through. The path is somewhat overgrown and as I heft my banjo and backpack along the path, small palms of mountain laurel and rhododendron kiss my face, tickle my forearms, thwap my legs.

Without the moon I cannot make out the ridgeline of the Black Mountains, a jagged cut across the horizon that was sorely missed while I was on campus and hardly replaced by the cityscape when I visited friends. But the fireflies flicker in full effect and I smile a little as I unlock the door, remembering the night hike with Riley so many weeks ago.

In the morning, I wake to the sound of my phone ringing. I stutter over driving directions to the lost baggage deliveryman who is “calling on behalf of Continental Airlines” then fall back into bed. The ceiling is bright white in the mid-morning sunlight and finally, my back and shoulders feel normal after a decent night’s rest.

Where do I begin? Half of me still sits beside my impromptu traveling companion in Texas – the one who put me up, introduced me to his family and dog, fed me, drove me back to the airport, offered to give up his plane ticket, then later saw to it that I got a ride from South Carolina (the only airport I could get a flight into, albeit it one day late) to North Carolina, where I would meet my family. The other half of me sits up at night reading poetry to myself in a half-whisper, my legs half in and half out of the covers, my heart breathless in the face of this grand dream – the writing life.

If today I have been split-brained and half-hearted due to travel fatigue, may tomorrow be the antithesis. Give me mental clarity for reading, nimble fingers for typing, an active mind for composing, and a painter’s perspective for seeing.

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