Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Summer in Flux

I enjoy going with the flow.  Carrying a demeanor of relaxed ease.  My life just happens.  I used to be much better with this, but I think three years of working with deadlines, budgeting my life in DC, and just... getting older took away some of that.  But that's a skill I enjoy and it just makes life so damn interesting.  This summer, I mean to gain it back.

I have yet to stay in one place more than four days since I left DC.  Mobile and agile, I have been traveling around visiting friends and family.  That was the general plan anyway; spend my last month or so before shipping off visiting everyone.  Let's talk the breakdown:

Anytime I have the freedom to move, you can find me at the beach.  My college friends all got together and we rented a beach house in Emerald Isle, NC.  Glorious.

In case you are lost: I'm the bloke.  The lovely blonde threw the trip together.

The ocean having recharged me, I went to stay with my brother in Raleigh, NC.  He's going to NC State to be some fancy engineer.  A much more guided life than that of his nomad brother.  He took me on a hike literally ten minutes from campus that was nice and secluded.  Probably in part because of the fence saying keep out, but we feinted illiteracy and got nice and lost in the woods.  Jumping and climbing over creeks and rivers.

After that I spent some time with my father in Wake Forest, NC.  Not the college, that's lost up in Winston-Salem after the tobacco tycoon of the same name donated some sizeable acreage.  Wake Forest is a quiet town right with a downtown that can only be described as quaint--highlight being the classic car dealership.  There I was by far my most productive.  Writing and reading.  And actually making it to the gym.

Next up, my hometown: Greenville, NC.  That's where my mom and step-dad live.  Spent some quality time with old friends and ate delicious home-cooked meals.  I repaid in full by cooking up some of my famous jambalaya to assure my sweet mother I could provide for myself.  Though there is no telling what I will be eating in the jungles of Cameroon...

I drove down to Charleston, SC to... take advantage of more beach time.  And see some friends.  Had a wild and crazy weekend on the town as I always do.  As I just did again.  In fact, I'm nursing a hangover as I write.  There I got an email from an long lost friend who was hiding out in someplace called Macon, GA.  Never heard of the place, but it wasn't as if I had someplace else to be.

In Macon, I became a farmer.  She was doing something called WWOOFing.  Apparently you can travel the country and world staying at little farms for nothing more than a roof and three meals a day.  I did not know I was doing this until I was already underway, but hey, this is the kind of winging it I'm looking for.  I don't know much about farming (read:anything more than plants come from the ground), but I do enjoy hard work and manual labor.  Though the rain excused me from using much of my talent, I helped raise chickens and goats and horses.  I helped with the planting of crops and the making of jam (Christ, there is a TON of sugar in jam!).  And otherwise wandered around the 15 acres; mostly being called upon for my height as the lady running the show was amazed at my ability to reach the highest of places.  "Sure, I will dust your fans for you.  Farmer's need their fans dusted too.  And it seems like a fair trade for tonight's chili dinner.  No, I'm not sure why I traveled to Georgia to dust fans."

That strange interlude in my rearview mirror and I returned to do the NC family circuit all over.  Managed to kayak down the river and found myself at the Orange County Speedway watching weekend racers fly round the track.  But finally, I have settled down.  Like I said from the beginning, if you leave me to my own devices, you can find me at the beach.  I'm renting a room downtown Charleston, SC.  Just got in.  The room isn't much, but I have a porch to write on and am never far from the ocean's call.  What better way to spend an American summer?