I have lived in this warm, sultry, green and overgrown place for three weeks. Things are sliding into place around me; I can almost hear the faint click as things snap together, like when I figured out that I live in North Asheville, which is not obvious in this town of skewed cardinal directions and mislabeled highways, or when Erich showed me the best espresso in town, which is in West Asheville next to the Baptist church. Everything clicks during the day, my very own world building and building around me, and then at night everything settles, relaxes into itself. I'm like a ship in my bed, anchored more deeply with the end of each day, the ropes connecting me to this new corner of the country stretching and creaking, getting accustomed.
Five years into this project of writing everything and I still have not run out of ship metaphors.
But at least I'm not writing about birds any more, to the enormous relief of myself and, I would wager a bet, anyone who reads this. When I told my old friend Ryan that I was moving, at an empty bar in Greenwood in North Seattle, I remember the way he looked at me, one eyebrow raised, arms crossed. He drank some of his beer and said, in his typical take no prisoners approach, "Why? Wherever you go, Lina, it's still going to be you."
It turns out, and this is not a surprise in any way, that all that frustration I felt in Seattle last spring, the irritation I could never give a name to welling up inside of me, that stuff that caused me to throw silverware and dream endlessly of birds banging into glass walls, it was all for a purpose. A sea change building momentum so quickly that it became impossible to ignore.
The other night I was chopping onions in my kitchen and my friend said, 'I'm glad that bird hit the plane.' I'm glad it did, too, and gave me one more day in Asheville. It was on that day that it became mysteriously obvious that I needed to move here.
I'm very, very happy that I did.
The woods up there were much cooler then in town, the problems seemed endless and I spilled a whole flask of whiskey into the ground. She told me all about the nearby places to climb, the Red and the Obed and the New, newly cleaned and bolted sport crags opening up and all the traditional routes at Table Rock and the Linville.
"Around here you climb all the way though the winter," she explained. "If you don't mind the occasional iced over hold."
I don't mind the occasional ice. I thought about days on the rock in sweaters and wool hats and drinking hot coffee between problems and right now on this sweating hot September day, I can't fathom anything better.
The drive home from the boulders no longer takes me on highway 2 past the Sultan bakery or memory soaked Index; and I don't return to a bright city with perfect coffee and overpriced apartments where my best friends live, the ubiquitous traffic on 1-5 crawling past Lake Washington.
Instead we wind down the blue ridge parkway, enveloped in green mountains, and stop at a place called Famous Louise's. The bathroom is decorated with pictures of naked children sitting on pots and praising the lord. I think the art is questionable, but I chalk it up to 'things i still don't understand about the south.' Like chiggers. I don't even know where to begin about the chiggers.
We buy slices of pie for the road- strawberry rhubarb, peach and blueberry, also a coffee that's served lukewarm in a styrofoam cup with a straw. Like a coke.
Win some, lose some I guess.
That's another thing about the South- everything takes on a new significance if it's done on the front porch. On this particular evening, I have my first front porch pie, drink my first porch pale ale. He tells me about his recent run down the Green and I tell him how I finally got the heal hook move and how I desperately want to go to the Mountain State Fair over in Fletcher. He laughs. "You think you're ready for that? That's going to be some serious Western North Carolina craziness."
We all know that life spins constantly, cranking up and down, birds and boats and black sand, so I hope you'll bear with me as I record every single thing that happens right now, an early autumn still disguised as summer when life feels so new and fresh and playful.