Nevertheless, there is always something to start over. Despie the blur and haze of the return, this strangeness of being in one place after having changed locations daily for more than 6 weeks, I am keenly aware that this state of flux and reorientation is a transition into something new, a kind of pupa stage where all of the observations and experiences and learnings and discoveries of this trip are beginning to sort themselves out. It's funny to be back home, although "home" isn't really what I consider Amherst to be, not having grown up here or spent years building a life in this house. I had the distinct feeling, as Grace and I made the various turns on the road to get here, that it wasn't going to be a place I would stay long, but that it would serve more as a rest stop, a neutral zone, a way station. I had been in Amherst for nearly 9 months before I left at the beginning of May, but I feel an odd combination of distance and caution, as if I don't want to get too close, too stuck.
The bike rides thes past two days have been so restorative and clarifying, though, and I've needed them than I realized. I supposed after all those days of riding I should have known that my body would start to get used to the habit of it, but it's my mind that's turned out to have been needed them the most. And without the trailer and typewriter and folding chair and table behind me adding an extra 25 pounds, I've been flying down the flat back roads that wind from Amherst to Sunderland and Montague and back. It is quite beautiful here, with the old houses and barns and farm fields that I was so drawn to on my trip, and I see that I can sustain some of that same adventure and discovery that marked my days on the road. I don't need to be away to be away.
Not surprisingly, I have found myself a bit on the quiet side since returning, not quite ready to form language around the experience or fall into too much chatter or attempt to wrangle all of my thoughts into writing. Instead, I'm making lists and reading poetry and doing laundry and revisiting photographs and making guacamole from the BOX of unbelievably good avocados Evlyn sent me from California and sorting receipts and untangling cords and making toast and going to the movies and eating spicy chicken wings and listening to "Only You," which is an old Yaz song but the one I have is by Joshua Radin that's been remixed by Imogen Heap, and thinking about when my first swim at Puffer's Pond will be and smelling strawberries in the air and seeing rabbits in the neighborhood gardens and calling my dad for his birthday and waiting for my sister and niece and nephew to arrive tomorrow from San Francisco and feeling the air make that turn toward summer, a lushness weaving in, a heat and humidity that sharpens the green in the grass and hums with with the unmistakable sound of something blooming, singing itself open.