End of a Season

Sunday Letter | #350

Just past sunrise, frosted open field, cart tracks into the distance.
Morning mist at Fazio Foothills, Barton Creek, Austin, TX

We spent Halloween in New Orleans, which was as decadent (if not more) as I’d remembered from previous visits. Now that we feel safer traveling again, Julia and I have been throwing around ideas for other cities to visit—and potentially spend extended time (winters?) in. We’ve found ourselves asking: What’s here that we’re missing at home—that we might be able to bring back, make part of our lives?

Our stay was only a few days—maybe not enough time to reach any solid conclusions. But the night we arrived it was one of our Airbnb hosts’ 72nd birthday party, and we were warmly welcomed with wine and fried chicken. Talking with their septuagenarian friends, talking with various Lyft drivers—and later with a different host (who was our French Quarter ghost-tour guide)—I felt my perspective on the city molding to each of theirs: as a place both calm and alive, or made mostly for tourists, or rife with hidden stories. As all of those things.

We were originally supposed to fly back Wednesday, but a while ago I found out some New York friends would be in Austin for a golf trip the following weekend. So of course I had to detour to join them. It worked out to be my treat to myself for finishing the latest draft of the manuscript—and a nice denouement to the golf season. Saturday afternoon, we ventured downtown to the fantastic Butler Pitch and Putt, a casual 9-hole short course (with booze and dogs). The sun set just as we were finishing the round; we played the final hole in darkness, judging the line of our shots by club-feel alone, our phone flashlights lighting the green for our last putts. A night I’ll never forget.

Some trips you return from full of energy, and this, for sure, was one of them. But I’m still working out exactly what kind of energy it is, and into which parts of my life—and which stories—it will flow. But maybe that’s the kind of thing that only resolves with time.