A broken heart is an open heart

It was a beautiful sunny morning when I felt the urge to make the 45-minute drive to my hometown of Weaverville.

This must be the place: ‘Scarecrow and a yellow moon and pretty soon a carnival on the edge of town’

Mailbox 278 (pictured) along Route 581 in the unincorporated community of Nahunta, North Carolina. In the rural depths of Wayne County on the outskirts of the small city of Goldsboro. 

This must be the place: Ode to 10 years of ‘This…place,’ ode to all you kind readers

Hello from 36,000 feet above the Midwest on this otherwise quiet Monday afternoon.

What this old house remembers

I live in an old farmhouse that is literally falling apart. Each spring, clouds of termites rise in the bathroom and the bedroom, coating the windows and covering the kitchen stove and the mirrors in the bathroom with tiny wings — wings that clog my vacuum cleaner for weeks.

Finding joy in the past and present

They say nostalgia and reminiscing can do two things to the psyche: be a buffer against ailments like depression and anxiety or exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions. Personally, I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. 

This must be the place: There were oh so many roads, I was livin’ to run and runnin’ to live

It’s Saturday evening here at my parents’ 1840 farmhouse in Upstate New York. The temperature is hovering around 15 degrees with a wind chill ducking below zero. It’s Jan. 8 and I was supposed to be back at my humble abode in Western North Carolina on Dec. 30. 

This must be the place: Ain’t nobody slowing down no way, everybody’s stepping on their accelerator

It was about 4:30 a.m. when the cover of the hot tub was finally pulled off and we jumped into the warm waters in the early hours of New Year’s Day. 

This must be the place: Time and time and time again, circles break and lines they bend  

I awoke to the sounds of tractor-trailers zooming by on the other side of the motel parking lot. It was a Super 8 right off Interstate 84, just outside the town of Maybrook, New York. 

This must be the place: Roads that we abandon and others that we take

As the decade comes to a close, I sip this cup o’joe in a quiet coffee shop in a small town in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I think of December 2009 and how incredibly different life was. 

At 24 years old, the economy had tanked a year earlier. Living back in my native Upstate New York (in my parent’s farmhouse), I had left the west in 2008 following my first journalism gig at a tiny paper in Eastern Idaho. 

This must be the place: Often I have thoughts and dreams, lying silent on my tongue

With the recent “10-year challenge” on Facebook — where folks compare photos of themselves from 2009, as a way to celebrate the end of this decade next month — I was curious and tracked down what I was up way back when.

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