The Urban Sherpa - a blog by Christopher DeWan

(cautiously optimistic...)

Read Work and Other Essays, a collection of nonfiction by Christopher DeWan.

Flotsam rating=2

Highland Lake, Catskills

Yesterday without much planning I got on a train headed north and wound up at the point where Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey meet: there's a river and depending on which way you cross it, you wind up in one state, two states, three.

Now I'm somewhere else.

There's a farmhouse. There's a white farmhouse with peeling paint and a patio that wraps around. There's a farmhouse with two dozen twin beds, a French bathtub, two toilets that shouldn't be flushed ("If it's yellow, let it mellow"...), a garden full of dill and wildflowers, and bats living inside the walls. This farmhouse is half full of people I know (or knew, once upon a time) and half full of strangers, who help alleviate the feeling of distance between me and my old friends.

In the next room, a woman is cutting cabbage. In the next room, some people are laughing. In the next room, a baby is crying. In the next room, a woman is also writing, like me, writing something about this house, about the people in it, about who she is and who she isn't and wondering where she belongs.

"Dear diary," maybe she writes. Or, "I'm having an amazing weekend," maybe she writes. Or maybe she writes, "There is no loneliness like being with the ones you love, and still feeling lost..."

These journals are the father confessors we never had (but fall short of granting absolution).

My bag is packed. I don't know when, but soon, somehow, I'll find my way back south—maybe with my new friends or maybe with my old ones, or maybe alone. The miles that ticked off on the train yesterday (the unfurling of railroad ties, like a ruler measuring my life: how far I've come—or not...)—those miles today must untick. The tide that carried me out here, to this town I can't even name, will turn, and carry me back, too. Will carry me somewhere. And there, I will wonder all these same things.

The difference between flotsam and jetsam: only one ever finds its way ashore.

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