This must be the place: No regrets, coyote, we just come from such different sets of circumstance

I looked at my smart phone. Monday evening. It nearing 9 o’clock and it was high time I made it back home. Finishing my drink, I paid my bar tab at the neighborhood watering hole in downtown Waynesville and went home — just around the corner, a hop, skip and jump from there to here. 

This must be the place: Turn your head to the cries of loneliness in the night

Stepping out of my truck, it was a cold wind rolling off the nearby mountains late Monday afternoon. A stiff breeze pushed across Lake Junaluska as I took the first strides of my four-mile run around the manmade body of water. Heavy snowflakes hit my face. I zipped the jacket closer to my chin. 

This must be the place: Olden times and ancient rhymes, of love and dreams to share

Though the baseboard heat was on in the living room, my downtown Waynesville apartment was quite chilly come Tuesday morning. Under warm covers with the anticipation of a blanket of white over the mountainous landscape outside the front door. 

This must be the place: They’re cutting through the steady wind and landing on the ground

Like every Thanksgiving, I’ll figure something out. 

With my family over 1,000 miles away back up in the North Country, I tend to be an orphan during this holiday feast in Western North Carolina. Luckily, over the last eight years here, I’ve been invited into homes all over Southern Appalachia, where the food is plentiful and there’s always an extra seat at the table for you.

This must be the place: There’s all kinds of magic, it’s hard to believe

So, where am I right now? 

Well, physically, I’m sitting in the back of our office, by myself in the conference room near the kitchen and mini-fridge. The blue coffee cup next to my laptop is full of the caffeinated black liquid that gives me the strength to type fast enough to meet those pesky deadlines.

This must be the place: Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right

It was during the third sip of my second glass of wine that I decided to splurge. As a minimalist, in terms of materialistic things, I choose to spend my money on good food, drink and experiences. Thus, it was a time to celebrate, so why not purchase the $89 bottle of champagne, eh?

This must be the place: The velvet it rips in the city, we tripped on the urge to feel alive

I could hear the planes overheard from the nearby Nashville airport. The room was cool. The bedsheets warm. It took me a moment to realize I was in Room 219 of the Red Roof Inn. Monday morning and a few hundred miles from my apartment back over the state line in Waynesville. 

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. 

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