Thursday, January 12, 2017

Southern Hospitality, August 23, 2009

So a door opens and you notice it and then a bunch of doors swing open and you're standing there in front of this breeze from the fact that the windows and the doors of this house are just wide open and you keep doubting the sky...

Last month an idea: to move south. To head to Nashville. Again. I'd tried this before. 2 years ago. Was it 3? 2007. I paid rent on a cute little house a friend owned but wasn't occupying yet. I paid rent from April to August and maybe spent 5 nights there, on a borrowed mattress with borrowed sheets and towels, with one lamp, 2 boxes of books and journals, 2 guitars, 1 mandolin and a computer. I cried myself to sleep most of those 5 nights, in my skin knowing I shouldn't be there. I was running from rather than moving toward and I knew it in my bones and my bones were screaming at me, run back. I was in a lot of pain, I'll admit, confused and sad and scared and just wanted CHANGE. I thought that 14 hours distance would numb or fix and it didn't and I knew it and so I kept running, or driving, or playing, or writing, but I kept moving. And thought it was Nashville's fault. Big Bad Songwriter Heaven and Hell Nashville. I blamed it on the lack of good Chinese delivery. I blamed it on too many churches and too little piercings. I didn't see that the problem was me until I ran right up to the Catskills and landed in a drafty, moldy shack for a few months, fighting pneumonia, writing my way through depression.

Was it just a month or two ago that I was here, meeting new people, hanging out with my friends, in offices that have become familiar and cave-like clubs with bartenders I like who know my name and pour me a too-strong drink as a friendly gesture, when someone said "Why don't you live here?" and then someone else echoed that and then it was me saying "Yeah, why don't I live here?" and then it was my manager saying "...and you could save money, and life might be easier and..." laying out all the smart business reasons for me to be in this town as any advisor should. And as I nodded at the rightness of this, the doors started, if not flying open, at least creaking little cracks and openings, enough for little peeks of the bluesky to seep in. And I looked around at the burst of wind blowing my notes and journals around and laying my hands to stop them from blowing away, just looked up and said "yes" and then it all calmed down -- this sudden summerbreeze -- and something felt right. 

And then I said it outloud. 

And then I said it onstage.

And then it felt true. And inevitable.

And so the forward momentum, not based on running this time, but based on a hunch and a hope, has gotten me 14 hours away from the home I've known for 20 years to a town I consider small, not a city, but a town, quiet and quaint. The 2nd open door led to a house that fell through and I thought "there's a reason this happened" trusting the hopeful hunch and today I saw that reason, too close for comfort to something not comfortable, and then in the right place, I landed in a house that as I walked up the stairs to the porch, with my friend next to me giddy with glee at the porch swing, the door swung open, a breeze, familiar, and the rightness and the opening and I found a new home. 

This time, I'm still not sure. I have to be honest. I have no idea what's out there, but to stay where I am currently is to stay and not to move and not to look and seek and find and continue moving. Not running. Just moving. And it might not be exactly what I need (thank god for the 6 month sublet), but it might be what I want for the time being. And you can always go back home, it just might not look the same when you return. But leaping after looking is a good thing and I've spent a lot of time lately either not leaping or blindly leaping, so this time, I'm trusting the jump. And hoping the net under me holds, and its not going to be held by anyone else but me this time. Because I looked alone. I found it alone. And I will move me alone. And this kind of alone is a good alone. This is a choice of alone. A healthy alone. I'm not letting go of the hands that held me, but I'm saying, I just don't need you right now. Stay close by, though. Because you never know....

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