We were about to descend the four or five steps towards to edge of the Mississippi River when the voice said, “Be careful. It’s slippery down there close to the water.” I thought he was asleep when we passed him at the top. Not the first time I was wrong!
Turns out it was Mike, or “Dead Weight,” as his friends called him. “When he gets to drinking, he really becomes dead weight,” one of them told Tamara. Before we knew it, we were engaged in a long conversation about traveling the 50 states with this crew of “train hoppers.”
We’re here in New Orleans for the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Just across the tracks from Jackson Square is an opening in the river with steps said to have been built by a Frenchman. At least, that is what Dead Weight told us. It looked like a good place to fish, which is what we were really up to.
Dead Weight claimed to have traveled all 50 via rail, except Florida, which is home to CSX Railroad, his favorite. We learned how he and his road dawgs crisscrossed the country, but ended up stuck in NOLA. (“Lost in the sauce!”) They traveled with a real dog named Karma.
Having traveled a lot myself, I’ve realized the importance of “moving around.” My dawgs use the term when things necessitate a change in one’s course of action. “Time to move around,” they’ll say.
Moving around is act of faith, I believe, because you are compelled to give up the familiar in preference for the unknown. Once there, you are forced to create your own future one step at a time.
We recently moved from Durham to Tampa. Believe it or not, our new house is right on a rail line (CSX). It’s not the ideal location for a house, but ideal for our new home of residence. We’re making it cozy one day at a time. We’re putting our faith to work actively.
I read an article in the NY Times that reported only six-tenths of one percent of Americans over age 55 moved across a state line in 2015. We did it twice in four years. I feel like a real mover and shaker!
It’s not easy buying and selling homes, losing good friendships, establishing new ones, and learning a new job. Each requires its own skill set. Still moving around is sometimes essential for the future that you need to survive and thrive.
Trying not to look back is harder. Remember Lot’s wife?
As Mike said, it can “get slippery down there close to the water.” Living in the Bay Area only 10 minutes from the water now gives us plenty of time to navigate uncharted waters. But hey, that’s the price you pay for “moving around.” And it's good karma.