An open window on the freeway is a force blow dryer; every city has a welcome mat. No matter where you go, you are home. There is a certain resilience in one’s traveling spirit that emotes and grows each time a host shows where the towels are kept, and each time we go over sleeping arrangements, then take a minute to gather ourselves in the guest room before making runs out to the van to get supplies.
We tried to get pictures of all our hosts, but often we forgot, sometimes in a big way. But we we are fortunate enough to have spent time with:
Claire M. made blueberry pancakes; KZ made buckwheats. The Houfeks grilled. Jeremy and Cori made steaks once, then, two months later, a pot roast; we made baked mac and cheese. James got us Thai food. Tara paraded a litany of delicious local/homegrown and prepared items-pickled everythings, liquor flavored from the hard, plain earth. In Minneapolis, my mom bought our whole band something like seven Pizza Luce pizzas. Hawk’s mom gave us a leftover wedding feast. The Normans made spring rolls and fresh juice and fed us whiskey and chocolate. A friend of a friend in Cincinnati took us out on the town. Best friends put us up for days, and our child napped in a spare room while we got oil changes and did laundry. What is this world? Is this what happens, in life? Thank you, everybody.
And this goes on, forever, every day! Part of me wonders where our stamina came from, but, look at this long list of people who fed us amazing food and gave us great love and company. It is a very long and heartfelt list. In that way, you could go on maybe forever. How could anyone be luckier? And then, we are playing music every night. It all flies by faster than one could truly soak it in, but I know it is going to mean a lot to us for the rest of our lives.
Your pals put you up and you take care of each other and you all cook for each other and share warmth in boxes made of wood and brick. In every house there is a look exchanged between humans that means more than the host or yourself can describe. What is the look, exactly? Maybe now that we have stopped traveling, I will have plenty of time to try to describe it. Although after a rest of a few days, I feel quite recovered and ready to embark again. (I think that means we have found an excellent homebase).
The look means, Is this life? What is real? Are we just playing roles? What role are we playing? What role are you playing? Can we forget our roles, take them off like sweaty T-shirts, and toss them in the corner to rest and air? Should we burn those T-shirts? This is what the look says. It is an underground form of communication that can only be communicated through voice or first-hand, direct experience. It is not something you can write in a Facebook post. It is not rare or undignified. It is the best thing a person can accumulate. And everyone gives you this look – your best friends in Greensboro who put you up for a week, and you’re all raising your children in between park visits and dinners and shows – and your radical house-maker friends give this look almost as their natural expression – for some it’s a hasty thing they throw on before running to work. But guess what, everyone, it’s all the fucking same, which means we’re all fucking in this together and we’re all in it together for the same reasons. Well, that’s news enough to celebrate.
See you on the next tour.