I've traveled a few thousand miles to be here. And, here is so fundamentally good and soul restorative I find myself having trouble wrapping my brain around it (much less trying to put it into words).
So rare are the moments when I wasn't able to articulate something (read: I never shut up) and since I've been pretty elusive in my tweets and status updates, I'm going to attempt to bring you up to speed and NOT lose you in the details.
The shortest story I can think of goes like this: A few years ago everybody I knew started to die, within a couple years everybody was gone but my kids and a couple of faithful friends. But, in the three years that it took that holocaust to pass, I'd buried my mom and my dad and more beloved memories than I've ever cared to count.
The best and only response I could come up with was to sell everything I owned (but my guitar, laptop and cell phone) and hit the road. I really didn't care all that much about much at all, and it had become abundantly clear that that which wouldn't just freakin' kill me forgodssake, would just make me stronger.
With a completely unfounded belief that I was unstoppable, I traveled. Then I traveled some more, and a little bit more for good measure.
I've met so many people and seen so many things, that I can only smile a bit and shake my head from side to side.
Seriously. For real.
I think it's imperative that we all step outside our comfort zones, and my adventures have proven that we are all way more resiliant than we think we are.
I am a horrible homeless person. I can suck it up and do the stiff upper lip thing as good as (well, technically: MUCH better than) the average bear. But, I simply can't ask anyone for anything. It just kills me. So there was that.
And then recently I remembered that I could write well enough to sell that talent, and not everybody can do that. Some people do algebra, some knit - I write. I did what I've done for 3 years: Craigslist. Long story short, I'm sitting in a 70 year old limestone building in Perry, Kansas. I am now paid to be a Marketing Director.
I can drive the old red Dodge beater truck with a manual transmission. There's a sweet brown lab named Rachel that comes in and I can pet her and throw her sticks.
Out the front door the trains roll by with certaintity, out the back is the Delaware river (no mamby pamby river either, it's way bigger than the Arkansas.) Go a mile either of the other ways and it's nothing but milo and soy and fields of tart prairie grass. There are a lot of guys on tractors.
If I'm so inclined, Lawrence is just 20 minutes away and there are all kinds of attractive things to be had there.
There is a herd of Red Deer (who look just like Reindeer to me) and they're having babies. I've heard of the sheep, but have yet to see them. Supposedly it's not the best lamb you can eat, but it doesn't suck either. I learned that you can't wrangle deer, you have to trick 'em. That could be fun.
The concern for whom I write is a well-established family business and it reminds me so much of what I knew and learned to love growing up in a family-run business. I can swear AND take showers here. I have a room and a soft padded place to lay my head at night.
Just up the street is the Perry Bar and Grill where they still allow smoking indoors. On Thursdays they have $5 steak nights. I don't even like steak, but I'm really looking forward to Thursday next - my son and his wife and my perfect grandson are meeting us there for dinner. And, I have never in my life been so grateful to know that I can buy them all dinner.