I intentionally told everyone I was coming back on the 15th, then got off the train on the 14th to make a surprise early arrival. I felt the chill air as I unpacked my bike, reloaded it and heading out from Albany. Not raining, and an easy 11 miles over to Corvallis. Many questions: who would I see first, how would I be received, what would the restaurant hold in waiting? What of my home, my family, my partner?

I met Gabriel at the coffeeshop, for one of our “coffee sessions”. Oh, it was good to see him, and Zach, and the town… and the trees! Ornamental maples aflame.

Visited a few other friends, one who told me of a presentation at LaSells on Aldo Leopold, grandfather of the environmental movement. A full house to see the documentary, a truly inspiring telling of the life of a man who learned about connection to the land, the other beings, and our relationship to the planet we live and depend upon.

Then over to Open Mic. Such good music! A full house, how wonderful to see the guest hosts Scott & Brett had kept the show alive and thriving in my absence. I took my turn to read some of this blog, to a listening audience. Finding my voice aloud, after writing for 6 weeks.

Ah, how good to see these people, remember my place in this community, connect with the lives that had continued even as I ventured afar.

The next morning, good to see Seth, Shawn & Intaba. The homestead, logged, but still a healthy forest. Weathered being confronted by the neighbor for damage caused to the road and two trees cut over the property line. Amends will be made.

The restaurant is in a slower season, with a new chef. Danny has a passion for food, and immediately started throwing me ideas for specials, adding breakfast, and throwing a Luau! I relaxed into the confidence that we had hired a strong leader, and looked forward to resuming my role of marketing and connecting with customers and musicians.

A couple rainy rides in the last two days. Can I keep up my habit, my discipline? And what of my next tour? For now, settle into the Oregon winter. The contemplative season.

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