the beginning again


In the autumn of  1979, I took a pre-dawn flight out of Reno and eventually landed at a small airfield in northern Colorado. I was fleeing from some things that had grown oppressive, but more importantly, I was fleeing toward everything else—and let's just summarize all that as the long road to sweet & bitter independence.

My luggage, which wasn't much but was still all I had, mistakenly went that day to Gillette, Wyoming, by any measure remote from where I stood on the tarmac with a $100 bill in my pocket. No car, no friends, no map—exactly where I wanted to be.

The luggage arrived 10 days later. Many of the facts of this experience are mundane, or worse, but know that I spent the interim in the same blue jeans, gray zip-up hoodie, and Chuck Taylor hightop white sneakers without socks. This travail was in its way helpful to me. I knew anyone who befriended me didn't do so because I was a snappy dresser—or even a guy who wore new things each day. Einstein had his set-of-seven-identical-suits to eliminate the hassle of choosing each day. I had my one-set-of-jeans-hoodie-sneakers, and it certainly set me free.

I bought a small notebook on my first day. It fit neatly in the back pocket—of my jeans. I have it still, and the first page features a poem called "the beginning again," penned in a shaky hand as I jounced around the open bed of a small pickup truck heading north along Hwy 287 toward Laramie.

This tale could be the beginning of a memoir, but it lies beyond the scope of what I want to say here in a blog entry. Life involves a series of new beginnings, some of which you alchemize, others that are demanded of you. I'm engaged in one right now, thought it's more a mild transition than a paradigm shift: updating my website, including this long-running blog.

As Chester Burnett once crooned, I'm built for comfort, I ain't built for speed. So this will take time. Come back soon, and often, to the WordGarden. Meanwhile, I may have to start working on the rest of that story.