Sunday, October 29, 2006

D(r)iving into New States

Thursday, October 26, 2006 ~ Hillsville, Virginia

I walk into Shoney's Restaurant joyful and grateful for my life and journey. Although dinner isn't very good, the server is so outgoing and heartful, his energy is all the food I need.

As I get up to leave, though, my mood undergoes a 180-degree shift.

Suddenly, I feel out of place, displaced...perhaps even misplaced. Suddenly, I don't know how I fit in, where I belong. Suddenly, I feel lost.

Yes, I'm without a conventional home. But that isn't new. This feeling is.

I step out into the cooling Hillsville night. It's dark now and nothing is familiar.

Nothing is familiar....

That's it!

Nothing is familiar!

I've covered lots of territory in 23 months -- 38 states, to be precise, many of them multiple times.

Recently, though, many of the roads have been familiar ones. This was my fifth visit to Michigan, for example.

With so much else in my life so unsettled, it's been reassuring to know where I am, to know my way around, as I do now in southern Michigan and quite a few other parts of the country.

Hillsville is different. I've never been this far south in Virginia. Nor have I ever driven through the Carolinas, Georgia or Alabama, my anticipated direction in coming days.

Put another way, I'm about to venture into new states...and not only States of the Union.

The disorientation I feel in this moment is perfect. It's a direct consequence of breaking old patterns and new ground.

It's heralding the new beginning I knew my visit to Canada would initiate,

It's not comfortable. But that discomfort is now balanced with understanding and excitement.

If I have a sense of the states I'll be traveling to, I don't yet know what they will look or how they will feel.

It's all new territory I'm driving into, diving into -- in every aspect of my life.

From those new states, my life will never look the same again.

Photo by Mark David Gerson: the view from the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Hillsville, Virginia


firstteacherismom said...

Dear David:
If you are near or in Winston-Salem, NC (central piedmont area) you can stop in our home for a free meal or a free night on the sofa. We have a nice sofa! I have been noting your travels and I sometimes fanticize myself doing what you are doing. We have a wireless Apple network in our home and would love to share our access to the internet with you while you are in town.

Just give me a call to 336-577-5792 or email me back at My first name is Marilyn.

The peak leaf season around here is just about at it's zenith!

Mark David Gerson said...

El Reno, Oklahoma

Dear Marilyn,

Thanks so much for the offer. Unfortunately, it comes quite a few days too late. I've already passed through the area (it was beautiful, if nonstop rainy) and am already well west of you. Another time...

Mark David