Today I’m back where I was raised. Along Lake Erie. About as far from Philadelphia as you can get across a seemingly endless state without crossing over the West Virginia or Ohio lines.
I have a love/hate relationship with it here but I want so badly to accept it for what it is & respect how it played it’s integral role in shaping the person that I am. This has been the focus of many of the songs I’ve written in the unexpected stillness of the past few years. Something I refer to as my “Pennsylvania record” when describing in passing what it is I’ve been working on.
The sun shined through blue skies until I was about a half an hour outside of Erie. A beautiful rainbow painted the space between the valleys & the sky & proceeded to bring a downpour of miserable rain to welcome me back home.
I’m grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend with my family & old friends. Their extensive tribes of children & pets.
The beautiful lives they’ve built. Forever-changing & growing up too fast.
It’s a different kind of living out here but the old acquaintances I chanced into at the Country Fair (the gas station I grew up with) seemed to not skip a beat. It’s likely more abstract to me to be here then it is for them to find me passing through. It felt familiar to make small talk as we studied the lines on each other’s faces & tried to synopsize decades into a few sentences.
On the way out of town I pulled in behind the St. John’s Lutheran Church. I don’t really recall being inside but the baseball field I used to play on out back was overgrown. A lost relic in my personal back pages. You could still make out where the pitchers mound once was, now just a circle of raised grass in a clearing. I walked out & stood there for a while. Studying the unkept backstop fence & the weathered benches in the batters box where I spent so much time waiting. It made me proud of what I came from & where I’ve landed. So many lives & miles in between. A journey through the past, making peace as I go.
September 29 2022
Erie County Pennsylvania U.S.A.