Well the road rolls out like a welcome mat
To a better place than the one we’re at
And I ain’t got no kinda plan
But I’ve had all of this town I can stand
And I got friends out on the coast
We can jump in the water and see what floats
We’ve been saving for a rainy day
Let’s beat the storm and be on our way
— Chris Stapleton, Starting Over
There’s an interesting twist to writing a blog every day; you start having conversations with friends and family who know perfectly well that you write a blog every day, may read the very words that you write and offer commentary on those words the next time you see them. And what, dear writer, do you do with that? Do you carefully edit your blog posts? Shut it down and write anonymously? Or just say the hell with it and write whatever you want to write about? The answer, I think, depends on who you’ve become during your passage through time. This blog isn’t a journal, definitely not a diary, but well-meaning friends and family interpret each post in whatever way they will.
With that in mind, beginning this blog post with the lyrics to Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over might seem risky, inviting all sorts of interpretation about the restless state of my wandering soul. This is the latest in a string of “hit the road” songs that stir the imagination, right there with Bob Seger’s Roll Me Away and Lord Huron’s Ends of the Earth. I could write a blog post on escapist songs that carry you from here to, well, there. The reason these songs stick is because they resonate. Secretly, we all want to fly, don’t we?
This month the house was turned upside down as a few rooms are getting painted. One room grew to two, and now a third (it’s a slippery slope, this home remodeling business). When you start moving your collection of things, you get a sense of time spent in limbo. Some of that accumulated stuff has grown a thick layer of dust that you weren’t aware of. The funny thing about dust: it collects on the things that feel most permanent to you.
Travel is a way of clearing the dust that accumulates on yourself. It sparks the imagination, changes perspective, and informs you about the world outside your comfort zone. Staying in one place just gives the dust a place to land. You ought to fly away now and then, just to feel the changes that have come over you.
This week my father was moved from his home to a care facility to assess his dementia. It seems the accumulated dust in his brain is getting worse, and the only viable answer was for him to leave his nest and land somewhere else for a little while. It serves as a reminder that none of this is permanent, everything changes, and if you want to fly from the nest you’d best do it while you can. Every day you can start over, until the day you can’t.