So. Today is a weird Friday the 13th/Full Moon combo. Also, I'm back in West Virginia. Yesterday, I unpacked my van and traded it for a Prius. Like, I drove away and left the van on the lot at my family's car dealership. I probably won't see her again. It's very strange to know that's true. I'll never spend another night in her. I'll never drive anywhere in her again. How can that be true?
When I started this thing, my biggest worry was that I wouldn't be able to finish what I'd started. I'm not so great at finishing my projects. Or, I guess, I'm excellent at beginnings and not so great at endings. I guess that's still true because I feel all kinds of ways about being finished with my travels. I'm kind of excited to start a new life. I'm a little sad about not traveling anymore (not like I have been, at least). I'm a bit anxious to start thinking about work again. I'm VERY anxious about the writing part of my project and how much I accomplished (not enough, not good, not right). I cried to leave the van but also felt so free driving a real car down the road and parking it in a parking garage this evening. I don't have to worry about where I'm gonna park from now on. I can drive thru any restaurant I want. I filled up the tank with less than $20 today. That is...pretty freeing.
My official final stop was in Niagara Falls. My mom showed me the old 1950s movie (of the same name) when I was probably about 14. I loved Marilyn Monroe in that movie because she was usually so flirty and silly but in Niagara Falls, she was a femme fatale. She was sneaky and conniving and her sex appeal was totally different. So, I've almost always thought of Niagara Falls as the 1950s honeymoon spot. I wanted to experience it like most everyone else has. I parked the van and took the Maid of the Mist into the horseshoe. Then, I drove across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada to see the other side. It was a beautiful, sunny day. On the boat, when you're inside the horseshoe, it's like riding into a storm. The sun disappears and you're surrounded by roaring, raging nature. If that's what Marilyn Monroe experienced, then I'm pretty thrilled to have done it, too.
Now, I'm back in WV...which is where all my stories always start. It seems fitting that this new chapter of my life should start here, too. I drove my little car down I-79 today like I have done so, so many times before. The late summer sun is the color of honey here and it slants in a particular way across the mountains. I know that sun. I know that road. I know those mountains. They are part of me. I've driven on a lot of different roads over the past year. The one I drove today, though, is tattooed on my heart. So, I'm glad to be starting fresh. I'm glad to be moving ahead. I'm also glad I can't really do that until I've been to this familiar place again.