I don't know if I can explain life any more clearly than this; it's here and gone. We don't know how anything will ever turn out. Our expectations and dreams often fall by the harsh wayside of the chaotic tides - but there is a real beauty and a deep satisfaction in letting go and allowing the mystery of it to wash over you, and be baptized in it.
I've been blessed in this life. To miss someone and to be reunited is a special thing. It brings closure and a look forward, a long whiff of the present tense, and a healthy look back to weigh the long, rainy flight of experience. So much of life is wondering - worrying - hoping - pining. But when we cross the threshold of the actual, something magical happens. Something beyond words or description. Our ears become deaf and our eyes become blind. All we can do is feel and touch and be overcome.
I'm lucky and I'm blessed and I'm charmed in many ways. I'm on a beautiful island with wildflowers and mountains and peaks and majestic oceansides and tropical weather. I knew that setting out on this journey would change me in one way or another. When Ali McCormick approached me many months ago to go on tour with her, I didn't know in what way I would be changed, or in what way I would be altered, but I knew it would happen somehow. You can't help but be changed by something as substantial as a trip like this.
If anything, this trek across the rocky crags, prairies and mountain expanses of our glorious country that we stand on guard for has shown me that love is not dead; it's alive and well. And it lives in the unexpected kindness of strangers. The smile of a new friend. Pouring your guts out to an empty room in a foreign city. A Sault Ste Marie soundman taking you into his home for food and lodging for the night. Old friends and shiny, whooping supportive hearts in Cowtown. Lovely owners and sumptuous food-purveyors in the stark, beautiful badlands of Twin Butte. And believing that love can still be ignited in your once calloused heart.
I've missed my friend Amanda more than I've missed anyone in a long while. Seeing her has been a beautiful thing. She is a part of my community, and a big chunk of why I love a certain region of this so much. When you've gone through things together, and have moved the past the stage of bullshit and you cut to the core, there are moments where looks, laughs, gestures and facial movements can occur, and no talking needs to happen. Understanding takes place and the flowers of your souls just slightly wilt, and bend with the breeze.
But let's be clear - love is a jargon, buzz-cliche word that gets thrown out in the trash of our hashtagged insta-happy, insta-feel-good lives. But if you truly love someone, there must be an understanding of freedom - and freedom is not easy. It's uncharted. It's difficult. It's putting judgment aside and letting the soul breathe. It's allowing someone to be as happy as they can possibly be with or without you in their immediate vicinity. It lets the child go on the bike with a heavy heart. It says goodbye when it would rather stay an extra day. But it always waits, and it always welcomes the prodigal son home with open arms in the middle of the street - no matter what trouble he has been into.
I think what I see in Amanda is a small piece of myself - and that many have learned or have had to do the same with me, as I am not an easy person to love. I'm brash. I'm passionate. I change plans. I go where the wind takes me. But the people who mean the most to me have been the ones to stand behind me, and accept that my strange, adventurous, anxious, unique view of life is what brings me joy. And I love those people for who they are. And a crowning beauty of the venture is the knowing that a home awaits with you family and friends who are ready to celebrate your return. Damnit all to hell - the view of this life is really quite something if you let yourself see it.
So venture on, friends. Love is all around you.