Empty bed blues

I am visiting a dear friend from my Prescott cohort this weekend. I just barely successfully navigated the I-95 northern corridor with the help of a GPS. I call her GPS lady when I am content with her directions and GPS wench or bitch when I am not.

We did well in the beginning, but everything went to hell on Route 128 when I second-guessed her directions, promptly got lost and wound up driving back and forth between exits until realizing I wasn’t supposed to exit at all. I said some things I probably didn’t mean, and she didn’t speak for a while. I finally plugged in the destination address again as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation.

I did eventually make it to a wonderful corner of Maine I hadn’t visited before. Rockport. Funny to have started in Rockport Washington, headed further north, and now be sitting across the continent in Rockport once more.

Rockport reminds me in some ways of the Rockport I have known and loved due west. It also shares elements of Gustavus—caring, invested parents choosing to offer a different kind of life for their children, a life where music and art are encouraged and those who try their hand at it are celebrated.

This evening, I joined in a monthly gathering called “The Living Room,” an event that my friend started which draws musicians of all ages and skill level in a desire to share songs, instruments, and community. I was in my element, a great big smile across my face. It didn’t matter that I didn’t take a single solo on my ukulele. Just being there and playing, smiling encouragingly at the musicians across the way and receiving smiles in kind was all I needed. It was wonderful to watch Malcolm in action, and when he put up the chords for the Empty Bed Blues and proceeded to wail while we dutifully played along, there were ripples of laughter around the room.

While it is heartening and heartwarming to peer into someone’s life that is so full, I am reminded that this is not my community, that in fact right now I don’t belong anywhere. Nearly everything I own is sitting in a POD in my parents’ driveway. Perhaps, where I belong is wherever I am in each moment, and this journey is one that offers me the chance to realize this and appreciate each and everyone of these precious moments.

I tend to try not to think too deeply about leaving a community of people in Gustavus who felt like family. Their lives continue on with or without my presence, and so too does mine, just a bit more solitary.

It is a wonderful feeling to belong to a place and to people. Yes, I can live alone, but I cherish having someone welcome me home at the end of day—someone to listen to my stories, however mundane, and to share their own stories of the vicissitudes of the everyday.

Mostly, I just want someone to tell me goodnight at the end of the day.

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