My nephew Nick Carter just turned 23. He’s one of three cousins born in the Stotts cousin boom of 1991, including my daughter Cerisa and my nephew Ryan.
Nick has just begun an epic motorcycle ride across the country. Starting in Asheville, NC with four friends and three motorcycles, Nick is making his way toward eventual work in California this fall. In the meantime, the travellers are letting the wind carry them, relying on kindness and serendipity to shape their journey.
They recently stayed with us in Madison. I admire their courage, curiosity, and gumption, but I know it’s also not an easy thing to do. You can follow their journey here and I know they would welcome comments or suggestions of places to visit or stay as they travel across the Northern United States.
I’ve written a lot of birthday songs over the years, and Nick’s visit just happened to coincide with his birthday. I wrote this one on the front porch and played it for him. He asked me to record it and I guess it’s okay if I share it here. It’s for him, of course, and it’s also for anyone who has a sense of direction, even if they can’t quite name it. Sometimes I just feel the pull somewhere, and if I’m calm enough, I can follow it. Nick’s doing that in a big way right now. Happy birthday, dear nephew and tender mercies.
the target’s large as the world is round
The highway opened like a reaching hand
Heading west through this virgin land
Like a pioneer
grin from ear-to-ear
the coast was clear on any road you tried
you got a ride
You were pretty mild as a child
Now you’re reaching for the edge that’s wild
though you dance on pinnacles of doubt
that’s what 23 is all about
Like a cowboy scout
always looking out
to find an open route to be the guide
you gotta ride
When the mountains bloom up bright and clear
Don’t forget your friendsand family and here
Remember just to send back a report
Cause life is hard and beautiful and short
With every mile you earn
And oil that you burn
Let the turning wheels just decide
you gotta ride.
© Stuart Stotts 2014