2013 was the year when the ache intensified. It was hardly existent in January—I came away from three months in Peru and Bolivia happy and excited, and the glow took time to fade. But, life happens, and the realization that 2013 would be the first year since 2005 that I wouldn’t make it abroad settled in me like a rough stone. Even so, I traveled far across the United States and both new and old places can teach you. As anything can.

Gebhardt & IOhio.

Ohio embraces me; it cups my cheek in its hand. Ohio is where I made myself, and it holds some of the people whose approval I desire most. Returning, I was at once reassured and my longing intensified. There are some people who know who you were, what you are, and may sense who you will become. They understand and, not only that, appreciate your best qualities. They have their priorities in line when it comes to personal traits. They see your constellation, they pick our your stars, and they know which are the brightest. The universe is lonely, but there are some people out there cheering for you always.

Golden Gate and Fog


The greatest American cities have a certain cool about them, I think. It may be a product of my small town youth, but cities rub off on me. My presence in the city somehow highlights an internal edge I otherwise don’t notice. It’s actually confidence, and a certain ferocity.

Maine Ferns


Autumn is the best time.

I love the autumn for its sense of melancholy seems to strike my need for sadness. There is poetry in the dying of the year and mystery as well.”
– Kyffin Williams (found by way of Manic Street Preachers)

The world may be terrible in some big ways, but beauty still lingers with strength. And within that, one can be strong too, pushing through life’s suffocations. I ran a marathon. Mile 20 and on: I was a battleground. I was one big fight to continue. I finished. I cut through.

Enchanted Rock Prickly Pear


New landscapes and foods are always welcome. So is simply existing in a new place, even if sometimes it just means relaxing and watching Orange is the New Black. And, apparently I can find people who share some of my odder interests in surprising places.


Is this a Tennessee observation or a product of life and a full-time job in the so-called real world (as if education or deviations from the most common routines aren’t real)? Fact is, not everyone is curious. But I am, and that matters to me.

Full circle: Knowing who you are and what you value, along with a few other, scattered good people, is enough. They’re there, around the world.