How to Get There

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Get in your car. Wait for it to warm up, like he would do.

When your impatience catches up to you, 20 seconds later, put the gear in drive and head onto the highway, north. Pass the 7-mile and 8-mile and 11-mile exits and the accompanying suburbs thereafter. Don’t check your phone or pick at your hair or worry about how long it will take. Listen to public radio and hear what they have to say, or put on the same CD that’s been in your console for two years and sing along to Ella Fitzgerald, or turn everything off altogether and see what your brain turns the silence into. Pass the outlet malls and fast food signs and let the hotheads of the leftmost lane pass you. Think about what you will do when you arrive.

Turn off the highway and take a right. Pass the final gasp of the commercial uniformity and pass the turn-off for the landfill/skihill and pass the Springfield Inn and the empty restaurant with the baldly desperate sign that says “Eat Here or We’ll Both Starve!” Take a right again. Drive down the one-lane road beyond the mustard yellow house and the fake pond and the lonely-seeming houses on what some living memories knew as farmland. Take a left. Watch out for the pothole and go down the final stretch, maybe sneak a look at yourself in the rearview mirror and decide what song you want to end your drive on. Right where the road splits, don’t take either fork but a hard left up a dirt road that is actually a driveway. Curve up past houses that are almost-but-not-quite it and park your car at the gate by the 60-foot pine-tree. Get your bags out of your car, straddle-step over the fence– careful not to rip your pants– and walk the path in the snow to the front door that you have always felt comfortable letting yourself into without knocking.

There he is.

He may patiently wait while you take off your shoes and greet the dogs and set down your things. He may listen as you comment on his beard or lack of beard or work coveralls or t-shirt– in this weather? Or he may stride past the frenzied pets to your watchful side and hold you so long and so sweet that you almost cry even though you’re not sure why.

You made it. Here is this man, tucked away in the woods even though they said all the good ones were taken. Here he is and you have found him. Let him make you coffee and put some logs on the fire. Let him spread some of his peace onto your heart and, for god’s sake if you’re smart, let him love you.

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