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Entry date: 8-3-2022 - The Last Day - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I’m typing this ahead of time because of two things:

1. This is my last day in Maine until October

2. I will be missing my wife and Doug for the next two months (plus) and I don’t want to dwell on that the last day.

The last day here always sucks. Even when we would come up for ten days or so, it never seems like enough time. Have you ever had that experience? It’s got to be a common, human thing, right? You just can’t get enough of something or some place.

When I was younger, it was southern California. I loved visiting the greater Los Angeles or San Diego area. The last days would kill me. I’d try, usually, to get a chance to have some alone time, even at a young age, where I could commune with my surroundings.

I’m sentimental like that. As a kid on Mission Beach, I would always try to go for a walk or spend a little time on the beach just thinking about what it would feel like to leave and then come back again when I could. I made plans with places. I made commitments.

The walk out of Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm or Magic Mountain. I would try to take it all in. Document my existence in these wonderful places and place my little stamp on them. Claiming them for my own. Is that weird?

Even now, being ready to come home because I know it is what is best for the kids. It’s not necessarily what is best for me, but I can’t also buy into the belief that I live in Maine just yet. I am still a Phoenician for the time being. I have spent a good portion of my life up here, but not enough to say it is mine.

But, it is.

Just like a piece of Berkeley and San Francisco is mine. Just like some of the places in Phoenix are mine and the Grand Canyon and walking down Congress in Tucson, that's all mine. New Orleans has spots that are mine, as does a certain bench in the Art Institute in Chicago and a table at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. Those places are a part of me.

Bailey has her corner in Terre Haute, too. That's hers, but it's also a place where I clean up some shit.

As I looked at the places here in Rangeley and the surrounding parts I love for the last time for a few months, I feel calm, though. I feel, in a way that I would have trouble explaining to someone who doesn’t know me well, at home but not at home. This place is home, but it is not. I hope that makes sense.

I don’t enjoy the idea of saying goodbye to anyone anymore or even any place.

Someday that will be all our realities. We will say goodbye to the people and places we love. I hope I have the luxury of understanding that certain things will be for the last time. I hope, for example, that I will know when I have seen Phoenix or Rangeley or San Francisco or Chicago or wherever I happen to love being for the last time.

I love New Orleans, too. I don’t know if I will ever get back there, but I love it. I’d love to show it to Rhondi at some point. She would love it, too. I’d like to take her to Yosemite and Yellowstone. The two best places in the world that start with “Y”. I also want to show her Charlottesville, Portland, and Seattle. I’d love to see her face when she sees Ireland for the very first time.


One of the lessons I have learned in the last almost seven weeks of being here in Maine is that I don’t need much anymore. I barely watched TV. I’ve stopped caring about any sports outside of the Suns and even then, I think I could walk away from that pretty easily. It was great seeing the Circle Jerks in Burlington, but how much of that was just going to Burlington?

There was a moment there, at the show, what I was instantly transported back to being a teenager. I had gone to the bar to get Rhondi and I a beer. I paid for my purchases and the Jerks launched into “Back Against the Wall” and the little hairs just stood up at full attention on my body. For a minute or longer, I was transported to another time and my body was young and fresh and ready for the mosh pit.

I was standing there alone and just soaked it up. I don’t know if I could have explained what I was feeling to Rhondi or anyone at that moment, so it was good that I was there with our beers and just in the moment with the band. I was transported back to every Jerks show I have ever seen. It was magnificent.


But here I sit. I don’t want to pack my things or go to Logan airport or fly home. Fucking Logan, man. It has been the scene of my sadness much more than the scene of my happiness. It’s a huge airport, by the way, if you haven’t been there. Way bigger than I want to deal with ever.

In the olden days, when we would come up to Maine for 10 or so days, I would hate having to tell Doug goodbye. Often it meant saying goodbye for the year as he would only come to Phoenix for graduations and such. I didn’t blame him at all. He was running a business and had a great life in Maine. Why would he want to come to the heat?

Leaving also meant saying good by to Ellen, Ned, and Will and Sylvia and, in the early days, Charlie, and Hal and Martha, and the rest of the family up here. I have never felt so loved an accepted by people. They had no reason to accept me, but it certainly has always seemed like they just did. I love them all and many more, too, who I have not named.

Maine has been good to me. It’s been good to my family and has certainly given my children a perspective on the world they would not have gotten if they had been in Phoenix for the entirety of their lives. How lucky they have been to have been able to come up here and just be. Just be who they are and not have to worry about a lot of the nonsense we worry about in the big city.

I am sad today, but I will be okay tomorrow. I will be home and with Liam and Teresa and Ash (and everyone else from a distance). Forgive me if I add another part of The Trees tomorrow because I will not be ready to talk about anything else for a few days. I’ll need to adjust.

Luckily the loving arms of friends and family in Phoenix await and I’ll see Rhondi and Doug soon enough, but not. Send us good travel karma, please.

See you tomorrow.

So this is Worthley Pond. It is a cool spot about an hour from Rangelely. Cousin Hal has a place there, as does our friend, Jeanine. The water is warm-ish, and the swimming is great. It is one place where I would definitely be okay with spending the rest of my life.

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