Day 677 May 10, 2022
I have never really felt like I had a home town, which I suppose is false, but I guess I mean a place where I felt I fit in and felt comfortable. This weekend, for my daughter’s graduation, I was able to return to my alma mater and in between celebrating her achievements, I swooned in the nostalgia of memories from thirty or more years ago. My cynicism has melted away into the sentimentalism of an aging man who is now the age of many of my professors from that time.
I wonder how many places on this Earth are so imbued with memory, where I can touch my hand to stone and know that I once touched my hand to that stone in that very same place. Not so many, I think. And even fewer that carry the transformation that happens as a child tries to figure out how to become a man, mistakes and all. I loved the contradictions of my own being, how I was at once a bad mischief maker, but also a good person who tried to do good things. Sewanee is imbued with those same contradictions for me, the challenges, the history, the beauty, the wild abandon.
My mentor told me, around the age of 50 I would be drawn to urinate off a mountain top. Metaphor or not, I felt the urge to leave a mark somewhere, the way people used to write their names in candle smoke inside the sandstone caves. The pollen drifted through the air like rain, and there were dead armadillo lining most of the highways. The seesaw melody of southern voices felt playful and alluring and I could almost feel my own southern accent returning.
It is a hard time on our planet to exist anywhere, but it was pleasing, for at least a day (when the sun finally came out), to have the full bright Tennessee sun bear down on my skin, to feel renewed, to feel moved by spirits. To feel re-awakened.