the first snow has fallen in my corner of appalachia. a signal of my impending departure. it feels good to see the flakes fly since i know i don't have to endure the whole winter here. i am aware of that familiar dread, but it can't sink into my heart this year. i've skidded to a place of rest after all that work i did this past year, and i finally feel like i'm moving at the speed that suits me. i'm no longer pushing myself through a rough patch, i'm just walking on the ground noticing the beauty around me. this is my life. this is how i really am.
i'm almost entirely packed, just a few little details to arrange when joe gets here. my parents have been so generous to me, they have provided enough nooks and crannies in their house to safely store all the items i can't take with me but might need later. they've taken me to lunch almost every day and given me a furnished apartment to live in and a car to drive around. i'm a lucky person, and i get to feel like a kid. a kid that's taken care of, loved, needed. this visit to home was just the right thing to prepare me for the rest of my journey. all my medical, dental, optical, emotional, and familial needs are taken care of and i'm ready to strike out on my own again.
last night we had a poker game that served as my going away gathering. we used to play almost every week when i lived here 5 years ago, and the same guys that came then got together last night in my brother's basement. there is something so deeply fun about sitting around a table taking each other's money, telling stories and drinking beer.
after the game, my brother and i stayed up talking for a long time. he gave me 4 boxes of 8-tracks! he swears he told me about them before, but i don't remember. there's about 80 tapes, all country, all in excellent condition. i'm thrilled. i will have to have them shipped to me when i get to where i'm going, because there's just no room in the suitcase, but they are going to be hours and hours of fun. i'm a nerd.
Noatak river paddle day 8: Okak
22 hours ago