It’s been awhile: 23 days. 5974 Miles. 15 States. 10 National Parks. 2 Spectacular State Parks. 5 Motel Rooms. 7 Campgrounds. Temps 33 (Madison, Yellowstone National Park) to -99 degrees (Moab, Utah). 2 Jacuzzi nights. About a dozen great old friends. A few new ones. A lot of new adventures.
Am I glad to be home? I’m still thinking about that one. I will say it is good to sleep in my own bed again, that it was nice to be indoors for two nights in a row, and that I missed my dog. I guess I missed some people, too–a few here and a lot of you, there, gentle readers.
If I had it to do again, I’d take the laptop and blog from the road, even if it was only a an update now and then. You’ll be hearing a lot of this trip–it was significant for me in many ways far and above simple nostalgia–but I’m certain a great deal of things that might have been amusing, or entertaining, or at the very least just a little bit droll, have fallen prey to my aged and distracted mind.
I didn’t write while I was gone. Intentionally. The object was to stoke the creative fires, build up a good appetite, and enjoy the trip viscerally rather than interpretively or expositionally, and I’m feeling some of that but, strangely, this is my third evening indoors and I had to overcome a bit of awkward reluctance to sit down and start–something I can best describe as shyness.
I met up with a group of old friends–former coworkers I met 25 years ago as a young, messed-up, kid who didn’t know the first thing about the world or himself–except that he wasn’t happy. It’s been 20 years since I saw most of them, and I was a little nervous going in: these people mean so much to me, but were we still the same people? The sensation was disconcerting, to say the least–I’ve beaten as much of the hesitance and doubt from my soul as I could without breaking my hammer, and I’m unaccustomed to feeling awkward, but this was important. I’ve made very few friendships that move me as these people move me.
And, of course, I had nothing to worry about. There was no question that the years had passed, but I fell right into the comfort of my friends’ company as naturally as if we’d been separated for a day or two–there were hugs, of course, a general marveling at how much we did/didn’t look as we once did, and a profound awe at meeting our respective children. At least, I was awed. Every kid I met was loaded down with coolness and cuteness and –because folks like us were drawn together for a reason–there was just a little devilry to be found in those youthful eyes. I would remark over and over again how strange it was, to be in that place, among those people, knowing full well how much time has passed but at the same time feeling like it was nothing at all. A blink.
How strange it was, then, to come home a few weeks later and feel estranged and awkward at my desk? Some things I’ll never figure out–and I’m not going to waste more time talking about it. I’ve got a ton of writing to do, both here and on The Novel, a lot of work in my day job, a lot of work around the house, and a host of other crap in front of me and, strangely enough, I feel motivated to take care of some business. I also have over 3 weeks of my favorite bloggers to catch up with–so be patient. I’ll be around, eventually.