My favorite artist left Virginia Center for Creative Arts today; the one who arrived right after I did, the one who quickly proved himself a fellow scotch drinker. On his way out, he stopped to feed the horses with an apple he'd taken from his first day's lunch buffet but had remained, untouched, on his studio windowsill. The owner of the horses that roam VCCA's grounds, a young Sweet Briar graduate named Virginia, was kind enough to come to my joint poetry reading with another Fellow. We were chatting afterwards and Virginia confessed that this horse's name on the paperwork is Pure Black Poison. She calls him Fella instead.
A minute after the artist drove off, I looked again out my studio window and the latest arrival--a fiction writer from Boston--was introducing himself to the horses. Someone goes, someone comes. In four days I'll be the one going. There's a look people get in their eyes in the homestretch, a reticence at the dinner table. It can be misread as rudeness or at the least social exhaustion: I've made all the friends I need to make in my stay here. Really, we're just preparing ourselves for the jolt of returning home. A sign waits at the exit to Route 29 that warns: You are now entering The Real World.