The Tourist

Saturday was a head-spinning rocknroll tour of Des Moines. Sunday was all about getting my bearings.

I didn’t leave my bedroom-turned-recording studio until well after noon. I wasn’t sleeping, though, I was working: recording a new song that came to me in my sleep (“Long Way Down”) and uploading my first batch of photos. When I finally ventured out, The Walsmith’s were out to lunch. I poured a cup of coffee, and settled in with The Des Moines Register.

The majority of Americans, I imagine, consider Des Moines, Omaha, Lincoln and the like to be flyover country; fall asleep and you miss it. If I hadn’t been born in Iowa City, and raised in Chicago and Indianapolis, I might as well. But Iowa has always been home to me.

There are those who doubt my intentions in this declaration. It is true that I lived in Iowa less than a month. My birth was induced over Labor Day Weekend in an effort to get it over with in time for my father’s first semester as a Chemistry professor at Charles County Community College in rural Maryland. And so my claim to Iowa as “where I’m from” could be considered dubious, at best. But for the entirety of my thirty-three years, this is the only place I’ve even returned to with any regularity. With the exception of nuclear family, fully half of my extended family still lived in The Hawkeye State. For a man who grew up in six states, the statistic alone constitutes home.

There’s more to it than math, of course. There is an authenticity here that can’t be bought. It is born in the soil, I think. It is forged from the great thuderstorms of the wide prarie. In a sea of manufactired authenticity, the place and its people are the real deal.

And so there is great comfort in being here here. My exhaustion notwithstanding, I feel at home. I feel relaxed. I hear music in the trees, and on the wind. I feel alive and asleep all at once.

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