"Where has Marcher been?" you may have wondered these past weeks. Not a post, not a word. I've just returned from the deep South, where I spent many hours talking with Molly Bloomberg in her enclosed porch (pictured above) in between visits with the family of the Naturalized Southerner, who had summoned me for an important family event.
Trips to the South rejuvenate me. The South has its way with you. Spending time with my oldest friend provides a distance from which to view the current state of things in ways not possible at home.
That state is in flux. Penelope has been lost to me in a storm of my own creation- an event I thought impossible has now happened. A tether ripped free by my own hand. Molly has a similar tale, a Southern Gothic if there ever was one, which I didn't learn the full scope of until this weekend. Sitting there on the porch, sipping whiskey and listening to the cicadas while Romeo and Juliette sat nearby, perhaps listening, perhaps not, we spoke of losses unintended and yet inevitable when seen from behind.
During the morning of the last day, the Southerner and I sat in his backyard. He counseled and I listened. We then took a drive, ate some breakfast at Lucy's, took a walk through abandoned blocks of defunct industry, and drove through streets which once burst with life but are now vacant and boarded up. JJ's All Star Lounge. Ricky's BBQ. The Birmingham League of Gentlemen. Gone, but their presence looms.
But I'm still here, with an "...old, sore heart, the battered, foundered, faithful heart, snorting again,
stamping in its stall."