ANDY'S TRAVELS: Drunk Thoughts In Downtown Nashville

[Nashville, Tennessee - 2:23am; intoxicated. It's closing time. The bars are pouring out now.]

A large, though maybe naive and self-deceptive part of me expected each stop in this trip to be open and beautifully barren and palm stretched -- wide eyed roads where my mind could work to fill in the void; cities that spoke to me in whispers and attended to my response. Yet, that's not the case in any place I've parked and settled. The streets don't lend themselves to quiet or innocence too often. The only silence I've found now exists in the narrow areas away from the stampede of pale, loose bodies or heavy machinery hammering through them. Spaces between the moving, breathing loaded words where I can stop, stand and look at the sky with a quick reach for stillness.

Then, I look straight and keep it movin', passed the food fight of slurred talk soup from white women in dark denim shorts and Jack Daniel shirts. Barricades -- blocking those who are too ill to place a straight foot forward -- stand between the Nashville crowds like a herd by the shepherd of Celebration and Escapism. It's in those moments where the dark drummer boy (beating against plastic baskets) clacks over the sound of chaos on the corner. Caught in the fracas of the night, I can't help but wonder, are we out on the street rejoicing or are we just collectively crawling away from the ground? I'm still convinced we're all looking for that same stillness. Maybe just in different spaces, or what's left of them. The drummer boy keeps beating.