I’m beginning to think I live in six-month cycles. That nearly everything that has been certain about the past six months is coming up for review. Maybe it’s just the new year. I said at the beginning that I felt 2009 was going to be a change year, and so far it has not disappointed. Perhaps it’s Africa, the fact of the Congo, its existence, the flowers there and Fiston’s clean shoes walking over the dirtiest roads I’ve ever seen.

I’ve felt isolated this year. If the second half of last year was characterized by community, the first half of this one has been characterized by its lack. Friends are a habit, and at times it seems our friends have fallen out of the habit of us. We’ve been sick, we’ve been out of town, we’ve been busy–and now that we are not sick and are in town and are not busy, we find that people have formed new habits and we are no longer among them.

This is probably melodramatic. But I don’t mind–I gravitate toward the melodramatic, the sad songs, the long movies.

Jesse and I went to an outdoor concert Friday night to see Third Eye Blind. It rained during the opening act, and we huddled together under our umbrella, and as the main act took the stage and the rain stopped, I listened to the words of songs I’ve been hearing for years, songs that meant something to me when I was 16 years old, songs from albums we listened to together when we were teenagers. And I felt like anything was possible. I could go home and pack my things in old boxes and we could load up and move to California, and we could walk through the Haight on sunny Saturdays and eat burritos and buy funky sunglasses. And we could live in a tiny apartment in Berkeley and sit under the redwoods and think about important things like what we would cook for dinner. And we could drive on roads lined with eucalyptus trees, watch Shakespeare plays in outdoor amphitheaters where strings of white Christmas lights glowed like little stars in delicate tree branches.

And it felt good. It felt lovely to be there, with Jesse, the battleship behind us and the river to our left, listening to music that stretches far before Wilmington, far beyond it. Sometimes it feels good to be in a state of flux. Sometimes it feels good to have roots, to feel connected. And sometimes it feels good when those roots wither, when I’m weightless and anything is possible.

In the next six months, odds are good that things will settle, return to earth. The rhythms of last year will probably resume themselves. We will not move to California.

But I think there are things set into motion that I will not understand until I get more distance on them. And I am changing. There is Congo, and the way it has creeped under my skin, the way going has provided more questions than it answered. I think in six months, in a year, in another six months after that, I will look back on that concert, and I will know that I felt the echo of a change that hadn’t yet happened, that I knew as soon as “Motorcycle Drive By” started that something was ending, I just wasn’t sure what.

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