return to the city and points west

well let’s see, i guess i have some wrapping up to do regarding my last day in paris. quitterie and william took me to the train station in dax and made sure i was safe in my seat – they even waited till the train left, the dears. so happy to see my good friend has come through the challenges of love since last i saw her and found herself in that sweet spot of being with someone who gets her – someone who knows quality when they see it.

the overnight train started off promisingly enough, though at lourdes the train suddenly was full of people yelling, jamming into our previously peaceful car. it was a tough night after that, my new neighbor being quite the accomplished snorer. to make it worse, there was no food at all on the train, which was too bad since i’d been counting on eating and drinking on board. we got to paris around 7 am and i made my way to our old hotel where i’d stashed a bag. the lovely man there let me stash my backpack there for the afternoon and i went out to breakfast. then i headed toward the seine, my banjo uke on my back. it was a brilliant morning and i crossed the river to the ile de la cite and walked toward notre dame. after making a round inside, i went to the river to play music till the archaeological museum under the church opened.  the music, the museum, the gorgeous blue sky. after the museum, i got a falafel and played more music before heading back toward the hotel.



though there were some potential issues getting to the airport, it was all accomplished and i found myself in the terminal drinking cognac and waiting for the plane. the ride was easy and we got to the airport and through security without an issue. the only issue happened when i got to the point where my moroccan traveling companion and i were splitting up and splitting a cab and i discovered i had left my journal on the plane and couldn’t locate my debit card.

ultimately, i found the card, though i guess the journal is lost for good. at least it was just a little one.

a couple of days in the city. some unexpected events, some perhaps i should have foreseen. and at last gone.


first south the hillsborough nc and my best friend. then east to home.

a couple of days there, lakes, forests, packing, then north to minneapolis.*

*initially, this was all i wrote about being home. let me elaborate. i drove from hillsborough to branson mo – a project 16 hour trip. i seemed to be making good time to memphis, so was unconcerned, but didn’t count on the gps route being bizarro. ended up  cruising through winding mountain roads in missouri at night before popping out a little ways up the highway from the airport, my destination. by the time i got there it was 10 o’clock. it was all kosher, since dad was planning to meet me there and he wouldn’t close his shop till then. i had time to go through the rental car and make sure nothing important was hiding in any pockets. i listened to cd’s from my sister’s collection. i think it was nick drake. eventually i saw dad pull into the terminal and we transferred my things and deposited my keys and headed on our merry way through the ozarks in mom’s silver rav 4, which could probably navigate the turns on its own at this point, having driven that stretch of road so many times before. mom’s so called grief dog, spanky, was with us: a rambunctious over-sized puppy, black and white spotted and slobber jawed. at the house, things were in some state of disarray. my mother had left a week before and dad’s natural tendencies were taking over. the house is the same way. the forest has sprung up around it in areas dad used to keep clear. sumac and other scrub grows alongside tree saplings shooting up, especially in the dearth of trees created by the ice storm of a few years ago, which splintered mighty oaks left and right and left the forest looking sparse. meanwhile, the orchard of my childhood has become overgrown and partially reclaimed by mother nature. dad’s neat rows of walnut trees have met a similar fate and the blueberry bushes are slowly succumbing as well. a family of deer could be seen watering at the collection pond at the bottom of the driveway, which dad has taken to gating off, since it is often mistaken for a county road.

my sister’s car, also a rav 4, needed some work before i could take it on my trip, so i was stuck in town for a couple of days. dad and i made the requisite trip to walmart and got much of my food supplies. we tried to go to the dmv, to change my license for insurance purposes, but the line was too long and we postponed. the afternoon was warm and sunny. i played with the cats and the dog. i tried to rest. the next day i got my license and went to the lake. being home is funny. everyone is very nice. small talk happens more frequently. i drove up to eureka springs and beaver lake. the lake is formed by a dam on the white river. the water is cool and clear and the lake is limestone all on one side. typical summers, it is high enough for people to jump from the cliffs into the water, but on this day, few people are there and the water is low. not a lot of neighbors, then, as i swam and wrote and drank the beer i’d brought along. boats cruised the lake periodically, but it was a quiet day. i returned to green forest to pick up the supposedly fixed rav, only to find that the mechanics had somehow disconnected the spedometer and didn’t know how to reconnect it. a car with no working spedometer was no good, but luckily my mother agreed to let me take her car instead.

i loaded what i could that night and then organized the rest of my things before loading them up the next morning. the car was pretty full. i hit the road in the late morning and heading due north toward minneapolis. i went through branson and springfield and slowly waggled west to the highway north of kansas city. i got to minneapolis that night. i met my good friend erin through my ex, who happens to be her big brother. i have come to really appreciate those people in my life who stand by me, and erin has proven to be one of them. we’ve seen each other several times over the years since her brother and i stopped seeing each other and i love her like a sister in a way i appreciate more and more in my life. we went out for drinks and snacks and called it a night.

my good friend erin hosted me the first night. we spent the next day at thrift stores, in search of a burning man coat for me and any costumes we might find. unfortunately, i took off my new hat at some point and never recovered it, though it seemed like we were hot on its trail for a minute. the second night we spent at my friend neil’s house in the country. he had a house full of  people, but they found room for us, and he found time to have dinner with us (coconut milk curried veggies) on his new deck and harvest rhubarb for the dessert (rhubarb berry crumble). he gave us the full tour and even donated a couple of books on tape to my roadtrip. in the morning he finished a story and gave us some of the honey he had harvested the day before. good to be with those who know and love me.


and now onto mount rushmore and then slc!!!

love and miss,



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