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.
I was in the Disney bubble for seven days straight, so it was rather depressing driving home with the daily grind looming up ahead. A blogger friend of mine coined this discombobulating experience “re-entry.” I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself. An amazing vacation, a weekend music festival, a holiday vacation from work. “Re-entry” is when you leave that happy façade of a world and return to reality.
We leave for Disney World this weekend.
I should be more excited, but with all that’s going on in our country, I’m feeling a bit uneasy about life. It’s hard to get giddy about something as seemingly trivial as Mickey Mouse when refugee children have nowhere to go and our country is imposing travel bans.
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.
I decided to not wear the hardhat.
Standing underneath the magnificent 215-foot high ancient rock arch at the Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia, I found myself in awe of Mother Nature’s creativity, and also of the history attached to the property.
Through the strewn lights I could see the Empire State Building.
“I’m glad you’re here right now.”
Standing in line at the Old Europe coffee shop in downtown Asheville, I said that to my old friend, Jerica. It was a rainy Sunday evening and we’d just gotten out of a documentary screening (about Tim Leary and Ram Dass) at the Grail Moviehouse. While I was mulling over the cosmic nature and theme of the film and what our place is in the universe (as per usual), I looked over at Jerica and smiled.
The RPMs hovered around 4,000, the truck huffing and puffing up the steep hillside.
Approaching Sam’s Gap (elevation 3,760 feet) on Interstate 26, I wondered if my old GMC Sonoma (aka: “Grace”) would be able to reach the crest before stalling out and rolling back down into rural Madison County. With Asheville and greater Western North Carolina fading into the rearview mirror, the blazing Friday afternoon sun began to fall behind the Bald Mountains nearing the Tennessee state line.
It’s about 855 miles between the quiet mountain town of Waynesville, North Carolina and the urban hustle and bustle of Havana, Cuba.
And yet, when painter Christopher Holt opens up his portfolio one recent morning at Panacea Coffeehouse in the Frog Level district of Waynesville, that distance gets a lot shorter. One-by-one, Holt leafs through dozens of his watercolor and oil paintings, all of which depict the vibrant sounds, scents and sights of the foreign country. The island nation and its people flood his thoughts and words when speaking at length over his recent trip there.
If I described my childhood, it may sound to some like I was raised by a band of gypsies. And while that wasn’t exactly the case, I had quite a unique early life that I didn’t fully appreciate until rather recently.