A friend came to visit the other day. We carved jack-o-lanterns, roasted pepitas, and yakked. We played music and sang. We had dinner. All in all, an excellent time. But it felt like returning to something I’d done in a hazy past life. Familiar but also uncertain. Like reciting a poem that you once knew by heart and hope will come back if you don’t think too hard.

How long had it been since the last time I invited a friend into my home just for the pleasure of their company?

I’m not exactly a recluse. I go out, I travel, I spend time with friends every week. But since the pandemic, home had become a fortress. Aside from family and bandmates, the drawbridge is up, the portcullis down, and the “None May Enter” sign is lit. My once-robust habits of hospitality were atrophied by my recent monk-like home life: was I falling into my own thoughts and forgetting to speak? Or had I been blathering and forgetting to listen? Did I remember to offer my guest food and drink or had she been forced to ask?

I think I did all right. But parts of the afternoon were lost in the sort of dreamlike fog that I’ve been able to get away with for the past few years and I missed too much of something I’d been looking forward to.

I don’t want to be asleep at the table. It’s time to lower the drawbridge, shake the moths out of the threadbare metaphors, and welcome the world.

Hello, World. It’s been ages! How have you been?