The compost pile

My time in Belgium will be over in less that 24 hours. It has been an amazing experience. From the second I arrived at the train station in Namur, I have been welcomed as a member of the family. I have fed goats and chickens. I helped build a rabbit house. I have shared family meals, attended Badminton practice and orchestra rehearsal. I have shared wine, beer, cheese and chocolate. A piece of me is very sad to be heading out of Belgium tomorrow, though I know the three weeks in India I have ahead of me will be a kind of incredible that I don’t have the words for yet.
As this leg of my journey comes to a close, I find myself reflecting. Reflecting on the places I’ve been, the year that will infamously be remembered, and who I am as a person. I’m wondering why certain people choose to heal their hearts in different ways. For me, the call to travel; to experience something new is the way I’ve always healed. The call of the unknown. The desperate need to be somewhere else. Just the sheer excitement of planning an adventure can lower my stress level immensely and also raise my heart rate from numb and almost no pulse to full on excitement and vibrance in a matter of seconds. So I’m curious as to why everyone doesn’t take to the sea when they are weary?
I also had one more task yesterday that I didn’t mention yet. Yesterday the weather was finally nice enough to go outside and actually get our hands dirty. Daniel, my host, and I went out into the garden and pruned away all of the dead bits of earth. We cut branches, stalks, leaves, and every piece of the garden that would become a hindrance to the growth of the new vegetables. We then took every bit of dead earth and dumped it into the compost pile. The magical thing about compost piles is this: a pile of rotting, decaying, discarded pieces of the earth. Orange peels, coffee grounds, onion peel, leaves, dirt, etc. The things in the compost pile rot for a year and then they get returned to the garden. This pile covers the vegetables and protects them and infused them with the nutrients that have been retained in the process. These nutrients allow the new vegetables to become larger, more delicious, and better all because of things that discarded and deemed unuseful. Perhaps it is a giant stretch of the imagination, but I feel that it is time for me to prune my branches. I need to take all of the things that hold me back and put them away. They need to rest in a small corner of my mind until I can take the lessons learned from them and become a better version of myself; more vibrant, more full of life, more determined to continue seeking happiness.

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The compost pile

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An homage to my youth

Holly Springs Mississippi! 45 minutes in one direction is actual civilization. 45 minutes in the other is the complete and udder middle of nowhere.  Tucked away in Holly Springs as two precious gems, one of which due to recent events may be closing it’s doors forever.
First I give you the most delicious pizza you’ve ever had. I live in New York City and I am surrounded by pizza, however none of it quite compares to Victor’s in Holly Springs. Victor’s Pizza is run by Vietnam Vet Victor, his Vietnamese wife and their four sons. The pizza dough has beer in it and the pitchers are cheap and plentiful.
While attending Blue Mountain College in the middle of nowhere direction from Holly Springs, there was not a lot to do in the extremely dry Tipah County. So occasionally we would pile as many of us that would it in someone’s car and drive to Holly Springs. We would roll the Windows down, sing, and d make cigarettes, even if you didn’t smoke.
Our first stop was Victor’s with the decor of Elvis Photos and Dolly and Daisy Duke in a time and place before restaurants pad a lot of money to be decorated this way. The entertainment was the company of friends, a country filled juke box and the anticipation that at any moment Victor’s tiny spitfire  wife would come out from the kitchen and scream everyone back into submission.  It was the best.
Then when we had finished we would head down the street to Graceland Too.
What is that you might be wondering.
It is a magical land where the laughter never stops and that strange indescribable creepy vibe is always present. A man in Holly Springs, who until yesterday’s news I didn’t even know his name, had turned his entire life into a memorial for Elvis. He would let you in any time of day or night. For $5 he would give you a tour of his eccentric, Elvis clad house, complete with a replica of jail house rock in the v back yard. After three visits, you became a life time member and never had to pay again. This honor included your picture on the wall with the other 200,000 plus members (in 2005). The interior was floor to ceiling Elvis , and he claimed he had more Elvis memorabilia than the actual Graceland.  He claimed that when his wife asked for a divorce she wanted half of his collection or a million dollars. He said he wrote her a check.
He provided hours of entertainment to college students and celebrities alike.
I would like to personally thank Paul Mcleod for opening his home and providing some of the best memories of my Blue Mountain College days.
May you rest in peace Paul, and I hope you finally get to meet The King!!!!!!!