This must be the place: Came to pass eyes that lost their vision, learned to see with sturdy intuition

It’s a crazy world out there right now, folks. And yet, it’s always been kind of nuts anyhow, just more so under the current circumstances. 

This must be the place: Ode to Nashville, ode to rebuilding

Being the nighthawk that I am, it was around 3 a.m. on March 3 when I found myself listening to some music and scrolling through Instagram. 

Suddenly, I kept coming across images of a massive storm in Nashville and of a pile of rubble that was once The Basement East music venue in the city.

This must be the place: What a way to ride, oh what a way to go

In March 2011, I was a 26-year-old freelance writer traveling down Interstate 87 in Upstate New York to one of Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles. The legendary singer/drummer for The Band, Helm held these intimate concerts in his barn-like home, tucked away in the backwoods of the Catskill Mountains. 

This must be the place: And no matter what may come to shine, the dream will always be mine

I awoke in the guest bedroom and it took me a few seconds to realize where I was. Tampa, Florida, was the destination this past weekend. And there I was amid Gulf Coast sunshine and beautiful chaos only found in the depths of the unknown night. 

This must be the place: If I ever loved once, you know I never loved right by you

It had been several years since we’d sat down over a drink and chatted. An old friend and former lover, she reached out randomly on a recent rainy day. 

“I’m having a shitty day. Let’s meet for a beer?” the out-of-the-blue text stated. Sure, I figured, always up for hearty conversation with good, genuine folk. 

This must be the place: Could have been the Willie Nelson, could have been the wine

By the time you read this, it will have been my 35th birthday. Yep. It’s here. No doubt about it, I’m officially, unashamedly in my mid-30s. As of Wednesday, I’ll be closer to 50 than 20. Sheesh. 

Yellow blazes and Skip-Bo

It’s been a somber few days since the world learned of the death of Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter, Gianna, and the seven other passengers on that helicopter in Calabassas, California. Hearing of the tragedy and reading the coverage made me realize that mortality stops for no one, not even a sports hero as big as Kobe.

This must be the place: I never saw the end of the tunnel, I only saw myself running out of one

For my generation, Kobe Bryant was the torchbearer and living link between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. He was basketball in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Kobe was also a figure who genuinely transcended the sport, one who rose to the top of the mountain of pop culture and media celebrity, something that came to fruition just as the internet age and social media became an integral part of our daily lives. 

Becoming mindful in a chaotic world

Last October, I turned 40. It made me evaluate where I was physically, emotionally and personally. About a month after this pivotal birthday, I had my wellness visit at the doctor. I be-bopped in, assuming labs and vitals would be just fine like they always are, but a couple days after the visit, I received a call saying my iron, B12 and hemoglobin levels were all significantly below normal. My mom passed away from a blood cancer so issues with blood and hemoglobin terrify me. 

This must be the place: Life being what it is

Stepping out of my truck, I stretched my legs and proceeded to throw on my running clothes. It was nearing sunset when I locked the vehicle and jumped onto a nearby hiking trail just off U.S. 19 in Summersville, West Virginia. 

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