Somewhere in the smell of the early morning dew on grass, tar on lumber, the croak of nearby frogs there’s a sense that home is at hand, that the past is around the corner, that long-closed haunts may still be mopping up last night’s spilled beer and cigarette butts. But you know that can’t be the case. In your absence time has allowed a city to grow, prosper, improve and fail, one address at a time.
The old faces seem more familiar, more welcome than ever. The old roads and hills shorter, easier than you recall. For every comfort found in the familiar you feel suspicion for the new. It’s not what Thomas Wolfe was referring to when he wrote You Can’t Go Home Again, but the effect is the same. You’re a stranger among your people. You know their ways, their speech and yet you no longer know their souls. Or don’t you?
All it takes is a group ride to find family. Like meeting a cousin you’ve heard stories of since childhood, your collective past may criss-cross only once or twice—if at all—but there’s a familiarity that goes deeper than Lycra, a connection that runs straight to the heart. Culture is in the blood, and those who know the rhythms of the efforts will always be a refuge for the stranger, even if the stranger is a native.