Wendell Barry, a poet, cultural critic and farmer reminds us of our shared humanity. His poems, deeply rooted in a living appreciation of the land, is a celebration of a place together we inhabit. Sometime last summer, Wendell and his life's work came up in conversation reflecting on an interconnectedness of people and place.

  Shortly thereafter, a pact was made---a revelry of pies, pumpernickel and resilient communities. It was time to grease the tires of the Playfull caravan. So we hit the road across Americana landscapes in search of wildebeest and mountain lions. In search of a common fabric of this place we call home, bound by the singularity and freedom of the road, we leapt---into the wild.

 

Shortly thereafter, a pact was made---a revelry of pies, pumpernickel and resilient communities. It was time to grease the tires of the Playfull caravan. So we hit the road across Americana landscapes in search of wildebeest and mountain lions. In search of a common fabric of this place we call home, bound by the singularity and freedom of the road, we leapt---into the wild.

  Our journey began in New York City, amplifying the brilliant and banal of America's best, paying homage to Jack Kerouac's free spirited beat nation of the 1960s. His scribbles still whisper: There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

 

Our journey began in New York City, amplifying the brilliant and banal of America's best, paying homage to Jack Kerouac's free spirited beat nation of the 1960s. His scribbles still whisper: There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

From the New England East, to the deep foraging South, to the mountainous West, to the coastal tips of the Pacific, we barreled across a dozen States, two dozen cities and countless faces. Engaging with our neighbors and hearing about their daily lives, we were honoring Wendell's example while paying credence to our own. 

  All we could hope for was to engage openly with perfect strangers in common curiosity and kind compassion: What is your life's work? And how do you play? Our neighbors' responses, we came to learn, were surprisingly simple. Refreshing odes to ordinary lives of extraordinary spirits. Our wheels drew a momentary breath in a shared pause of path before barreling onwards into the wind. 

 

All we could hope for was to engage openly with perfect strangers in common curiosity and kind compassion: What is your life's work? And how do you play? Our neighbors' responses, we came to learn, were surprisingly simple. Refreshing odes to ordinary lives of extraordinary spirits. Our wheels drew a momentary breath in a shared pause of path before barreling onwards into the wind. 

  Besides it being a more practical way to transport goods from one coast to another, our time on the road was an opportunity to explore a place that has offered comfort for our growing pains, held refuge for our complex, evolving identities, and helped mold determined spirits in consciously choosing how to live each day. 

 

Besides it being a more practical way to transport goods from one coast to another, our time on the road was an opportunity to explore a place that has offered comfort for our growing pains, held refuge for our complex, evolving identities, and helped mold determined spirits in consciously choosing how to live each day. 

  Our journey lunged us forwards and backwards. At times we found ourselves in tight tent quarters, or sprawled across wide desert plains, clambering up rock face, souls floating into the whitest and brightest of skies. We let our spirits catch fire and quietly drift into an evening of sloth-face from a long day's drive. Life is a dance and infinitely more rewarding when we practice caring for others, hands planted, forever free. 

 

Our journey lunged us forwards and backwards. At times we found ourselves in tight tent quarters, or sprawled across wide desert plains, clambering up rock face, souls floating into the whitest and brightest of skies. We let our spirits catch fire and quietly drift into an evening of sloth-face from a long day's drive. Life is a dance and infinitely more rewarding when we practice caring for others, hands planted, forever free. 

  The miles on our maps and apps were reinvigorated by geography of place and face. From New York to New Haven, to West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains, to Beale Street and sweet tunes of Nashville, Tennessee, across Indian Reservations lining Oklahoma plains, we road forwards. Humming to the tune of Oh, Shenandoah, our noses led us to spicy green chilly peppers roasting at the Santa Fe farmer's market in New Mexico. Saluting the Rocky Mountains with a wink, dusk teased progress forward to the Californian coast.

 

The miles on our maps and apps were reinvigorated by geography of place and face. From New York to New Haven, to West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains, to Beale Street and sweet tunes of Nashville, Tennessee, across Indian Reservations lining Oklahoma plains, we road forwards. Humming to the tune of Oh, Shenandoah, our noses led us to spicy green chilly peppers roasting at the Santa Fe farmer's market in New Mexico. Saluting the Rocky Mountains with a wink, dusk teased progress forward to the Californian coast.

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If nothing else, time on the road is a reminder of the brevity of our days. No matter how long or how brief, our participation is proof that we are powerfully connected.  The USA is a vast, glorious, behemoth of a land mass, an astounding container of hope and strife if we remain open to it. We're not too different from one another in fact, in our wants and aspirations. All around us, people are hard at work, simply in want of more time to spend with those they love. 

  Besides, who among us doesn't want to log roll across grassy knolls of wonder? Whether working, retired, care-taking, or being cared for, our Playfull caravanning was less a discovery of the whats and hows and rather a revelation of the whys. All it took was a country-stretch of pitstops, refueling, and caffeinating at quickie marts to arrive at a shared rhythm and wisdom of the tumbleweed. 

 

Besides, who among us doesn't want to log roll across grassy knolls of wonder? Whether working, retired, care-taking, or being cared for, our Playfull caravanning was less a discovery of the whats and hows and rather a revelation of the whys. All it took was a country-stretch of pitstops, refueling, and caffeinating at quickie marts to arrive at a shared rhythm and wisdom of the tumbleweed. 

  Perhaps all it takes is a greater appreciation of the poetry that lilts us forward. Closer to each other.  I guess that Wendell's onto something. 

 

Perhaps all it takes is a greater appreciation of the poetry that lilts us forward. Closer to each other. 

I guess that Wendell's onto something. 

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