This must be the place: Ode to the front porch, ode to the pink couch

I awoke to the hammering of nails and the sound of a cement mixer. Opening the front door, it was a steep drop of a few feet to the cold dirt below. The old front porch was long gone. The new front porch now in the midst of construction.

This must be the place: Things change but you don’t realize you have all you need

About halfway through the first set of the sold-out Goose drive-in show last Saturday, a friend turned to me and said with a smile, “You know, we’re probably going to follow this band around for the next few decades, right?”

This must be the place: Winter’s cold, spring erases, and the calm away by the storm is chasing

Awakening in the hotel room in downtown Pineville, Kentucky, it took me a moment to realize where I was this past Sunday morning. I found myself up in the small mountain town on Saturday night for a music showcase at the nearby Laurel Cove Amphitheater of emerging acts from just down the road in Lexington. 

This must be the place: You’ve got to get up to get down

Approaching the backside parking lot of Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado one recent evening, I was immediately greeted by the new normal when it comes to live music. 

This must be the place

It’s 9:29 a.m. on Tuesday at the Holiday Inn off Interstate 135 near the city of Salina, Kansas. Looking out the fourth-floor window, it was hundreds of miles of cornfields, grasslands, gas stations and truck stops. 

This must be the place: Ain’t it funny how the time just flies, don’t 
you think it’s time to get on board?

Nearing midnight here in Eastern Idaho. A landscape I used to call home some 12 years ago. The faces I chase down and interact with in these parts are familiar and beloved. The same faces I befriended when I first rolled through here to put down roots as a rookie reporter in January 2008 for the Teton Valley News. 

This must be the place: Oh, the day we met I went astray, I started rolling down that lost highway

It’s 4:41 a.m. at the Motel 6 in Laramie, Wyoming, which means it’s nearing 7 o’clock back at my apartment in Waynesville, North Carolina. My guitar sits atop the bed with fresh sheets and fluffy pillows, right across from my late grandfather’s old Coleman cooler on the floor near the door. 

This must be the place: I get the urge for going, but I never seem to go

Labor Day 2020. After finishing up my arts feature for this week’s newspaper, I jumped into the old Tacoma and headed for Lake Logan to swim and layout in the sunshine of a fading summer. Park down the gravel road and grab a seat on the dock. Pop open a cold beverage and hoist it high to those familiar and beloved faces surrounding you. 

This must be the place: Do you believe in what you see, motionless wheel, nothing is real

Stepping out of the muddy truck, I laced up my trail running shoes and disappeared down the Cataloochee Divide Trail for a few miles of trotting, wandering and pondering. 

About a mile and a half up the ridge, there’s this small opening looking down into Cataloochee Valley. I always stop there and gaze out, wondering who else is, perhaps, looking back at me from one of those faraway peaks. Last Friday, I stood at that spot and felt the first crisp breeze of an impending fall. 

This must be the place: But long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it

Pulling onto Lake Street last Saturday afternoon, an odd sense of self flowed through my veins while cruising through Rouses Point, New York. My hometown until I left for college, the tiny Canadian Border community had seen better days. And yet, Saturday was another happy occasion for my family, who has lived in that town for generations. 

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