Monday, April 10, 2017

The Reset of 66

I'm going to be honest here and say that sometimes I even bore myself to death with my Pete talk. I mean, I enjoy my thoughts of him, but when I talk about him I'm starting to wonder if I'm even making sense anymore. He died a month ago, and I'm settling into my new normal, but something is really tearing at me. I need to reset. A life reset. I've been feeling it for a while now, even before I'd first laid eyes on Pete. I'm 36 and have lived in Atlanta my whole life. I'm graduating with my master's degree soon and I just feel like I want to do something different. I occasionally placate that need with a vacation to the beach or visit family in Washington.

It came on pretty heavy yesterday. Hajj was able to score me some tickets to the African American History Museum at the Smithsonian, a morning appointment. Google Maps in Washington DC is the pits so it took me all around the world before landing me there. Long story short, I didn't leave DC until about 3pm. I'd looked for the proper route to get on I-95 to hit Atlanta, but I simply wasn't able to find it. My GPS kept telling me to hit I-66, a route I'd never seen before. I figured that it was just more GPS malfunctions. I even hopped on I-495, hoping it would eventually put me on I-95, but no go, it put me right back on I-66. I tried to call Daisy, but she didn't pick up. It was already getting late, so I decided to wing it, figuring that perhaps I'd land on I-95 in a couple of miles.

It didn't take me long to see that I-66 was... well, it was stunning! I drove through mountains, green, lush mountains, punctuated with pink flowers, and farmland. It was like driving through a Bob Ross painting. It was quite possibly the most at peace I'd ever been in life. I drove up and down those hills taking it all in.My mouth hung open at the beauty all around me. It honestly felt like a gift. A gift, meant just for me, wrapped in a necessary road trip home. I don't know how I know, but he was there. Pete was behind this. I can't explain it, but I felt him. He's the only person I know on this planet that would know that this is the ultimate blessing for me. I'll never forget that trip. I expected to pass a few mountain ranges in Virginia, but it went on into North Carolina. I was so sad when the sun set. The wild thing is that what no one really knows about me is that driving through mountains has always been one of my favorite things, since my teenage getaways to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Its kind of my unspoken joy. But Pete would know, because he would have appreciated the exact same thing. I love mountains because they're so humbling. Like no matter how big and fancy you think you are, stand next to a mountain. You're a fucking atom on this planet.

I'm probably quite removed from religion or spirituality, but if there is a way to feel close to God, that was it. I-66 was so beautiful that I genuinely wondered for a moment if I was dead. I seriously wondered if I'd like died suddenly in DC, and was seamlessly brought to this beautiful place. I cried tears of joy, as I felt Pete telling me that this is where he is now, resting with nature and to be happy for him. And I was. So genuinely happy. I thought of writing about this experience on Facebook, but no one would have understood. But I know it was real.

As I drove through those mountains, I began to wonder what it was like. How was it to live in those tiny mountain towns? Surrounded by cows and dirt? Don't judge me, but it sounds wonderful to me. T The moment was completed with the Dixie Chicks playing in the background. I imagined myself, barefoot, gardening, talking to my chickens, married to some country boy, unbothered by the insanity of the big city. No hour-long commutes, no flash-in-the-pan reality show fame. Not living in a place where everyone is a goddamned rapper or Instagram model. I loved where I was and I wanted more of it. Needless to say, as wonderful as it sounds to me, I've got a son to look after. The kid would never tolerate me moving to some small town, away from his friends and family. But the fact is that the kid graduates high school in another 9 years. I can do that. I can wait that out. Read up on Roanoke, Virginia. Sounds like my kind of place...

So for now, I bide my time, waiting for the moment to reconnect to nature and live a simple life without exponentially rising rent, smog, and being surrounded by wanna-be important people. I think the problem is that in my Facebook fame and outgoing personality, I just give way too much of myself to too many people. I want to reclaim me and reassess what I want and need out of life. I still think Pete set me up for my reset. In case you needed more proof, the night before my trip into the mountains, I'd had a dream about Rte 66.

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