Friday, May 20, 2016

Was Thomas Wolfe Right?




"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."   
 - “You Can’t Go Home Again”, Thomas Wolfe

 

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
 - Heraclitus

 

“Or can you?”
 - Me

 

The writer Thomas Wolfe told us “you can’t go home again”.  The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”.

What they were both saying is that time changes everything and everyone. You can go back to your hometown, but you’ll find that even if most of the same people still live there, they won’t have been any more static than you have been. We all evolve, grow, and change with time.

Even the lay of the land is different: trees have gotten bigger, or burned down, or been cut down. Buildings may have collapsed, been demolished, replaced, or at least renovated. Fields and woods have been replaced by “developments”, whether shopping malls, strip centers, or housing subdivisions. That certainly happened to my own hometown of Morrow, GA.

I left home almost immediately after high school graduation at the age of eighteen na├»ve years, bound for basic training in the United States Navy. After my time in service, I settled in Texas; San Antonio for thirteen years, then the Austin area for the last twelve or so. Now, for various reasons, I find myself making preparations to see just how accurate Heraclitus and Mr. Wolfe were. Not only am I returning to my hometown, but literally to my childhood home, after an absence of nearly thirty years.

 



As a lifelong motorcyclist, I love to travel new roads, and discover new routes to familiar destinations. It recently occurred to me that although I grew up in the area I’m moving to, it was long enough ago and everything has changed so much that it’s roughly the equivalent of having a whole new region to explore. So, that’s what I plan to do: See my old hometown and its surroundings, and even the rest of the region of the country anew through a rider’s eyes. We’ll see about going home again, won’t we?

My move is still a couple of months away, but once I’m settled, I’ll saddle up and start exploring with Suzi, my trusty 2003 Suzuki SV1000N, who’s been my faithful steed for going on 100,000 miles.


So stay tuned for posts about riding in Morrow, the general Atlanta area, and branching out to the rest of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. If you have a destination or road or route that you’d like to recommend to me, please do. I can be emailed at ridinwriter@gmail.com. I’ll also be building a presence on Google +, and may add Twitter and Instagram accounts.

 

Thanks for reading this far, and remember to ride like half of ‘em can’t see you, and the rest want to kill you.