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You don’t know me.

In recent weeks, I’ve found myself saying that exact statement above to folks I love and care about. One being my sister over the phone back home in the North Country. The other via Skype with a femme fatale currently out of the country, one that has caught my eye over the winter.

She is still a fox.

Midnight. Last Tuesday morning. Wide-awake and in front of a large HD television at my parent’s Florida rental cottage. I haven’t had cable in several years. But, seeing as everyone was already asleep and March Madness was over for the night, I clicked around the endless channels of nothing.

Once they announce your name, you stand up and move towards the bright lights.

Meandering around a sardine can ballroom of tables, chairs and random folks milling about, The Smoky Mountain News made it to the stage at the Sheraton in downtown Raleigh last Thursday evening.

It came out of the blue.

Sunday morning. My smart phone dinged next to my bed. I groaned, rolled over and reached for it. One eye open, my blurry vision tried to make out the sender in the message. It was a name I hadn’t spoken to in several years, more than a decade since we’d seen each other in person.

I finally had a moment of silence.

After a raucous Saturday night attending the Perpetual Groove show at The Salvage Station in Asheville, I found myself in the living room of my friend’s house in West Asheville. Midnight had come and gone, and there I was, sitting on the couch, wide awake as folks were already asleep atop the air mattress on the floor and in the back bedroom.

It wasn’t the film that was shocking. It was the mere fact I had previously thought “I was aware,” and yet actually have fallen so short in my pursuits.

I hadn’t slept that long in years.

After driving up and down the East Coast for the better part of the last two months, from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, I found myself awakened from a deep slumber last Thursday morning — almost 6,000 miles and 15 states total. 

How could something so beautiful be so ugly?

Standing at the edge of the ocean on the Gulf Coast of Texas, I looked down at my feet being washed over by the relentless waves of crisp waters filled with mystery and wonder. I kicked around pebbles and broken shells, just glancing down at them with such awe, almost a Zen-like state of mind where you simply zone out and immerse yourself in the winds of change, and of self.

Popping the tailgate down in my truck, I jumped up, my eyes gazing straight ahead.

I had just enough water left.

Squeezing the last of my water bottle onto my dry toothbrush, I managed to get a halfway decent cleaning session. And there I was, sitting in the passenger’s seat of my old pickup truck, at 9 a.m. this past Monday morning, in the parking lot of a Waffle House in rural Arkansas.

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