On the banks of the French Broad in the hills outside Ashville the reception is terrible and whole days will go by without you even noticing this if you’re there for the national forests like me. I went there in the Spring, when the river is brown and so high with winter melt the first site of rushing white caps evokes a natural awe, close enough to terror it quickens the breath. I made my peace quick, in part because the churning reminded me of frothy chocolate milk. That and the old growths there, the sleepy yawn of stretched out lazy Appalachian afternoons had captured my heart. I paused at every new violet, every fairy white cap that made the sandy banks there as winter would. I gathered them, enchanted, blessed them, heard the giggles of the sweetly fresh Spring breath tinkle as fae bells in the wind. By the time I was home I had an entire wild-crafted blend. And I find myself surprised, today, to look back on the pictures, and remember I used my 35 mm to document it all.
The prophetic way, I find myself thinking, I used to use w o r d s to see into the underbelly of life. Seeing the pictures today it’s easy to understand why my heart yearn answered Go South…when leaving the beach I ask my soul where my whimsy felt led. It was such a long time is all I can think, such a long time for a solo drive. In truth, I made the home-haul in one afternoon and settled in to the Palm Tree Inn just as the sun was setting a fierce yellow in my sideview mirror. I was south of the tunnel-bridge that puts you onto the peninsula where I live by just an hour when I stopped there, delighted by my road instincts that sat like a round cushion in my heart, all apple cheeked and taunting there’s a surprise for you coming, right at dusk. Sure enough, the Palm Tree Inn was sitting there on the right…I breezed passed it and felt my instinct a shaft like quick under the hair wind go hold on~and glanced back and thought, could it be?
My god, the Palm Tree Inn, where I stayed in 2011 when I last took off to live on the road. The wandering trip of seven months that left me off eventually to burrow into Laguna Canyon–my first and only unto my own tiny little hobbit home. That first night, a $40 motel room an hour off the peninsula, which back then to me was still its own mostly foreign land.
I turned back, got a Dairy Queen hot dog some oj and called it a night. The rooms had gone up $20. Fucking internet and social media making commerce out of e v e r y t h i n g. And that, maybe, is the surprise I came here for now. To remind myself, remember?
Go south, huh?
The words are priceless. Freedom of soul the only real gold~