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Photo by C. Spencer van Gulick on

Trips home aren’t what they used to be,
I suppose everything changes…

This morning, in the Colonial Capital,
Much was the same,
June is hot, humidity rules,
The horses still poop in the streets,
Which at every turn seemed to be blocked by construction.

I found my way to a vacant lot,
It was the public library and since there wasn’t anyone there,
The easy joke would be,
That no one in Williamsburg can read,
Not true, of course, and the library would not open
For two more hours,
Which is why there were empty parking spaces.
There was no plan, this would be a Murderer’s run,
Cox’s run, whatever my friends up north call
My spur of the moment running routes.

I had forgotten my watch, so
Tracking this run would not happen.
I decided to run old school, digitally naked,
Letting my effort hang all out, letting my senses prevail.
Scotland Street brought the sweat,
The football stadium brought awe,
A construction closed road brought out my ballsy side
As I just ran by the dudes who were not building anything
Behind a less than menacing fence,
Their hardhats meant nothing to me. Safety be damned,
I was making this route up and just around the corner
Were parts of the ‘Burg I had not seen in decades,
Neighborhoods, with pines and magnolias, those smells
Tripping the nostalgia that keeps its talons in my soul, but
Truth be told, there is little else here for me now.

The sun was blaring, nearly one-hundred on the humidity,
Just about eighty for a temperature, and
I could hear everything, the little bit of traffic,
The clanging rattle of a chain hitting a chain guard on an old lady’s bike,
Two guys talking it up as they dumped trash by Campbell’s.
Then I heard my feet, a slide with a scratch as they hit the pavement,
A sign that my form sucked and I was working too hard,
“Pay attention, focus, forefoot, come on Hanee,”
My nickname down here.

The run ended after maybe four or five miles,
And I found a seat under a canopy at the library.
Sweat dripped from my hat,
The quick drying shirt I wore had no chance
Against the waves of effort pouring from my skin.
These are the workouts I love,
When perspiration is not enough to describe
How the fluids are flowing out of my body.
The kind of sweat that happens in the NBA,
Patrick Ewing sweat, this is how it was
In front of the waterfall behind the library
Where I had spent so many summer days and
Where I always park when I go to Williamsburg.

For a while, I just sat on the granite bench
Then Goggins popped into my head,
As did my hollow rocking mates from up north.
For some idiotic reason,
I started busting our daily rocks out right there
Under the canopy, next to the waterfall, on the granite,
Splashing in puddles of my own sweat.
It was awesome,
The spontaneity,
The relaxed aura,
The feeling of being home
Its talons massaging my soul,
Not poking them into my skull
Like that bald eagle and German shepherd story
A guy to told me the other day.

Nope, this run, in this place, on this day
Was about life,
About what I care about, and
How I want to live.


The Wood Brothers are playing,
I’m back in Williamsburg
In the heat of a swampy Tidewater day.

It’s raining outside,
A cool Pennsylvania New Year’s Eve rain
And that delta blues groove is drawing me in.

I could be sitting next to the James
With the wind blowing lightly,
The spirit of Carter’s Grove as conflicted as ever.

The land fit for a king,
Supported on the forced servitude of slaves,
Evolved into a sanctuary for me.

And The Wood Brothers are tapping into that energy
Sending my soul to that place where I care
The one where I wish I could wave my hands to erase history

The history of slavery,
The history of doubt,
The one where my head spins without reason.

Truth is those cool breezes spoke to me,
I knew they were telling me things could be better
For us, for me

That people could get along,
That I could be cool with me,
That New Year’s Eve could be sober.

Those breezes are still with me,
They blow a little stiffer now,
Especially, the warm one about caring and purpose

For I’m traveling,
With the energy of the new year,
And maybe I’ll wind up in Williamsburg for real, maybe not,

But one thing is sure,
I’m open to messages everywhere,
Apathy has no shot.