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Early in my career, my job moved me between cities every couple of years. The first move from my small town in Indiana was especially difficult. I clearly remember lying in a fetal position on a hotel bed in Jacksonville, Florida questioning my decision because of the isolation I created through distance. The hundreds of miles between me and anyone important to me brought a harsh reality I hadn’t prepared to face.

With few choices, I began to explore the community that had been chosen as part of my decision. By virtue of me, I settled into exploring the community’s culture, people and geographic areas. I was interested in the city’s arts, districts and people.

Subsequent moves were easier but how I addressed my isolation didn’t change; I focused my new community. While my Indiana friends were buying homes and becoming involved in their specific communities, I was experiencing American as a melting pot by experiencing diverse cities in the Midwest, Northeast and the South. I was witnessing communities built on expansion, migration and immigration from both European and Latino cultures.

I saw communities in the midwest, the northeast, the old south and the new south. I saw ethnic relations based on westward expansion, southern migration, European immigration during the late 1800/early 1900 and the Latino immigration of the 60s. I saw communities assimilated to the US culture and communities trying to hold on to cultural beliefs. I saw the heart and soul of America.

This experience helped to make me, me. Traveling from region to region allowed me to see part of the fabric of the United States. It allowed me to see how different we are all. It allowed me to understand how different (but the same) I am from the rest of the nation. It allowed me to understand the United States.

This tune is (in part) about isolation by travel. While I was fortunate to experience America in a different way than most of my friends, moving frequently also helped me understand something else; loss. Each community I lived in, I moved from. Most of the new friends I met have been lost to time and distance. Some we’re passing ships; some were instrumental to who I am and I miss very much. Some are social media friends but most are missing from my life.

Here’s a tune that sums it up and makes me think about friends lost …

Maybe I’ll see you again baby
And maybe I won’t
Maybe you’ve bought your ticket
Gone back to Detroit
Airplanes make strangers of us all
Give us distance
Much too easily.

Jim says some destinies
Should not be delivered
But you and I seen now baby
That still they are
Winning it makes losers of us all
‘Cause the dice roll
So indifferently.

Well, I’ll wrap myself in cities I travel
I’ll wrap myself in dreams
I’ll wrap myself in solitude
But I wish I could wrap myself
In thee.

Tonight it’s hot, without you
Tomorrow’ll be cold
Winter will come along
Driven by snow
Love it makes strangers of us all
When we part
Oh so thoughtlessly

Well, I’ll wrap myself in cities I travel
I’ll wrap myself in dreams
I’ll wrap myself in solitude
But I wish I could wrap myself
In thee.

Once we breathed the breath
Of sweet surrender
Pure, pure Arab air filled our
Atmosphere
But pride it makes stars of us all
Until we fall
For everyone to see.

Well, I’ll wrap myself in cities I travel
I’ll wrap myself in dreams
I’ll wrap myself in stranger’s arms
But I wish I could wrap myself
In thee.

Well, I’ll wrap myself in cities I travel
I’ll wrap myself in dreams
I’ll wrap myself in solitude
But I wish I could wrap myself
In thee.

In Thee – Blue Oyster Cult

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