endings & beginnings

No, I’m not back in Foxy, but I wanted to check in.

In 2019, I finished my MFA, visited 22 states in eight months while living in a van, and started a new job teaching college (which meant moving to a new town). It was a big one, and I’m pleased.

In 2020, there will be more teaching college, more living in a van, and more who-the-hell-knows-what. I’m pretty pleased about that, too.

I’m a little shy about sharing this publicly, but I’m hoping to try mountain bike racing again this spring.

In the last three weeks I did some travel.

Taught my last class of the semester, attended a couple of basketball games that night, and headed out early the next morning, with forty-something student portfolios in tow.

In the Dallas area, I saw a friend’s band play, and played board games with his kids.

I visited my storage unit to pick up a hardtail mountain bike (yay!) and drop off a newly acquired card catalog (yay!). Rode McAllister Park in San Antonio, and visited a brewery that I used to call home, where I was treated like family still.

After a lovely stay in the Texas Hill Country, and topped up with four cases of beer and half a case of liquor, I headed into my hometown of Houston. I tried to eat all the good food in town (eye roll), and saw some friends who are really more like family. Got my hair cut and colored, and rode Memorial Park, Double Lake, and some bayou paths. Ate sushi, poke, Mexican, BBQ, vegetarian, breakfast tacos, Whataburger; did a yoga class at a brewery and visited two museums; celebrated Christmas with a family that I’ve grown up with. Hops almost got dognapped but all ended well.

At my final stop, I rode the old race course at Lake Bryan for the first time in maybe nine years or so, and hung out with some dear friends. We did some more yoga, visited a few more breweries, and attended a college basketball game.

Throughout I had warm weather, great food, good trails, and the best company. I drove nearly 3,500 miles and visited a 23rd state (in Foxy). I found out that a friend had died, and my mother had a birthday. Coming home to West Virginia, I especially loved seeing the rickhouses along the highway in Kentucky. I saw several bald eagles and many red-tailed hawks, including the first time I’ve ever seen one make a kill (a small rodent). The sun set as I crossed the Kanawha River. I listened to Eddie Spaghetti sing “there’s no such place as far away / until you’ve left something behind,” and thought about how far I’ve come.