mourning

We announced the new incarnation of Proximity Magazine last night. For our inaugural issue, we chose the theme, “morning.” I’ve been mulling that over for the past few weeks, wondering what I might write, were I not one of the editors. I guess you could say I’ve had morning on the mind.

 

I could use a good morning, instead of this, its homophonic twin. I do not like pity. Sometimes I choose not to share bad news, to avoid the look people get in their eyes, the down-turned corners at the mouth, the silent “I’m sorry”s. But we’re in a season of grief in our household, in our close and extended family. And after a while, it shows. We are tired. We are sad. We are going through the motions through which we must go, when all we want to do is to sit with our favorite loved ones, hold them and feed them, and remove ourselves from the rest of the spinning world for a while.

We are lucky. We don’t need to share details for good friends to see that something is wrong. And so pots of soup appear on our doorstep, and pans of apple crisp, and bags of chocolate, and bottles of wine, and homemade bread still warm in its foil. We’re not at the center of all this grief, but we love the people who are — they are the ones who deserve this kind of tending. In our heartache for them, our edges have frayed; and so we feel grateful for (and a little undeserving of) our friends’ ample kindness.

My aunt was, among many admirable things, a birder. This is a morning-person’s pursuit. It’s something I’ve always liked in theory. I don’t mind rising early — but in practice there is a problem. I hoard my mornings. I want to enjoy them in solitude, indoors, cupped in the corner of the couch with a mug of coffee and a book. Mornings can swell with potential — anything could happen. They say anticipation of something can inspire stronger feelings than the thing itself, and mornings are all about anticipating the possible. I want my mornings to last all day.

The evanescence that is so peculiar to this time of year — as the leaves pause in mid-color, the air flecked with cool — is most obvious in the mornings. By afternoon the sun is hot and bright, but in the early morning chill, you can sometimes smell the fireplace fumes left over from the night before. The air feels crisp like stationery paper; the cool blue sky feels closer to the ground, the clouds hang low over the trees, and a there is a general sense of unsettling, as we approach that tipping point into fall.

This has always been my favorite time of year. Early fall, to me, is synonymous with the start of school, and the ripe anticipation of new beginnings. And so we warm ourselves with soup and bread, made by people who love us; and we see glimpses of our own loved ones in the smallest things — a bird’s call, a painter’s brush, a snippet of song playing on the radio. And we know the leaves will fall, and the skies will darken, and the ground will freeze. But it will all come back again. And we should hope to be so blessed to see it.

rocks

On a visit to Lake Superior

Sometimes, when I am sitting alone on a shoreline, or on a hilltop, or next to a rambling river where wild things grow and growl, and black bugs crawl, where the earth shines with flecks of quartz, and weedy flowers sprout whole from slabs of rock and bloom the color of the sun, I wonder how we got it wrong.

I wonder what it is that compels us to love and to hate and to wage war and to concern ourselves with things as mundane as pleasure or gossip or politics. We go through the same motions others have traveled; they are well worn, threadbare, and they should read like road maps, like stories told, like bones that have already been thrown. Yet we struggle; we think each turn and desire born to us anew, unique and singular. And others will do this again, and again, and again, long after we are gone.

This place, where I am now, feels so small, in a world full of small places, knitted together in one mountainous fabric. I am sitting on a grassy rise of earth overlooking a lake so great it might as well be an ocean. Below me foams a small harbor, carved into the side of a peninsula. Dark brown rock forms a broken coastline, interrupted by a small stretch of sandy beach where the harbor hugs the town.

These are the only sounds: wind through leaves; waves on rock; the reedy call of a lone bird, a sleek, black-winged thing that lands for moment on the abandoned pier before taking off with a whisper of wings, heading west over the blue horizon.

food + family

Last year, because our Christmas plans involved whirlwind trips to Austin, Houston, and North Carolina, we decided to take it easy and stay put for Thanksgiving. Because it revolves around food, family and gratitude, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday — and the prospect of Thanksgiving dinner for two didn’t quite have the feel of holiday to me.

So we brought down the serving dishes from my grandmothers and Joe’s cousin Jeanie, the china from my great-grandmother, the glasses from my brother and sister-in-law; we used recipes from Joe’s mother and set the table with linens made by mine; and, by the time we sat down to eat, we felt sufficiently surrounded by food and family:

thanksgiving dinner, 2011

This year, we’d planned to head to Greensboro, NC, to spend Christmas at Joe’s parents’ house. But thanks to an ill-timed blizzard, once again we find ourselves staying put. This time, my parents live here, and my aunt and uncle will be in town. So, though we’re staying in Madison, it doesn’t mean we’re without loved ones nearby. However, it means Joe won’t be able to celebrate Christmas back home — only the second time that’s ever happened.

So, when we had my parents over for pre-Christmas chili a couple of nights ago, we found ourselves once again using food as a proxy for family, reaching for Joe’s mother’s cornbread recipe, the perfect complement to the perfect food for a cold, ice-covered day:

It was all so good that we’d eaten almost everything before Joe thought to take a picture. Almost everything, but not quite:

snow day

The second biggest snow storm in Wisconsin history blew through town yesterday, causing us to cancel our eagerly-awaited Christmas trip to North Carolina, but giving us a surprise day of doing nothing but eating, walking the dog, and watching the snow fall (and fall and fall and fall — for more than 24 hours!).

how Joe spent his day
how I spent my day

We lost power last night around 7. The power company warned us we were among 4,000 homes without power and likely wouldn’t get it back until morning, so we hunkered down with a houseful of candles, played some music, and whipped up a pot of rosemary orzo, the only thing in our house that wouldn’t require opening the refrigerator. (Lucky for us, though, we were only without power for less than a couple of hours.)

The snow emergency lasts through Sunday morning, and though the skies were blue today, the roads are still a disastrous mix of ice and slush, so they canceled school for the second day in row — and because Joe’s office closes when the schools do, we stayed home and spent the day digging our house out of the snow drift.

post-blizzard
digging out the driveway
poor, buried front steps
our cedar tree snapped and buckled in the storm
our snow-logged back porch and chicken coop
it’s hard to believe it looked like THIS three months ago.
the snow from the porch became snow mountains
for scale, Joe amid the snow piles
I was really happy about shoveling that driveway!
four hours of shoveling later, and we’re still smiling

home love

Lately I’ve turned into a hater. I look around our house, still so new to us, yet still so old (and, with age, still so plaster-cracked, and dusty-cornered, and crooked-floored), and I think, “God, there’s so much work to do.” The other day, I told Joe that I wanted to just sell the place and buy something new, a house with fewer projects waiting in the wings, a house that doesn’t beg for renovation projects, new paint, new gutters.

There are a few other homes in Madison that are identical to ours, or close to it. For a while, I fantasized about knocking on their doors, explaining our unique connection (strangers! with identical houses!), and politely asking for a tour. But I couldn’t figure out how to do that without coming across as a little bit whacked. And then I got busy and kind of forgot about it.

Then, this morning, I was sipping chugging my coffee and scrolling through Apartment Therapy, when I saw it: Our House. Or at least, a very close facsimile. The brick is different, the back door’s in a different place, the original fireplace hasn’t been yanked out (and, dream of dreams, they have an actual entry way) — but, the floor plan is essentially identical.

The amount of excitement I felt is almost embarrassing. “This house is beautiful!” I thought, as I examined the pictures. It was cozy, warm, and full of color. It was grown-up. It was a home you wanted to spend time in. Our house can look like that. We keep telling ourselves that home-ownership amounts to an endless to-do list; you are never done. The joy is in the process–I believe this applies to most things. I guess I just needed a nice kick in the pants reminder.

bounty

[Another old Proximity post… this one feels quite timely, given how summer-like this spring has been. I’ve been raking the leaves from our garden beds and clipping back all the old, dead growth all week.]

Winter brings a slew of stews, root vegetables, beans and rice. Winter brings homemade pizzas and baked seitan, any chance to turn on the oven, heat escaping creaky metal seams and heating up our kitchen. Winter brings pots of boiling water for pasta, warm and heavy foods to insulate our bones. Winter brings frozen bags of vegetables from last year’s garden, nothing fresh from the frozen ground. Winter brings foods of survival.

But now. With summer, our table overflows. Dinner means plates of fresh tomato. Dinner means sitting on the porch with a pile of carrots, the dirt brushed off, the satisfying crack, straight from earth to mouth. There are few things more satisfying than knowing where your food comes from. I’ve known these carrots all their lives. These tomatoes, too.

We don’t live lavishly. We are almost painfully frugal. But at the dinner table, we feast like kings. “If people knew that broccoli could taste this good, they’d give up steak,” Joe said last night. Food from the ground tastes nothing like the grocery store clones. They may look something alike. But in your mouth it’s a different story. This is a cross-cultural revelation, something people probably used to know intuitively, back when growing your own food was just what you did because you needed to eat.

We were at the community garden, and a little boy maybe 6 years old came hopping down the path.Our dog, Milo, was leashed at the entrance of our garden plot. “Can I pet him?” the little boy asked.

“Of course,” I nodded.

“My name is Gerald,” the little boy said. “Do you like strawberries?”

“I love them,” I said.

“Then come on!” he said, turning around and heading back in the direction he’d come from.

Gerald led me to his family’s garden. His mother, one of our garden’s many Hmong gardeners, was turning the earth and methodically whacking at weeds with a garden hoe. Gerald and his sister bent down in a tangled corner, searching for ripe strawberries. They emerged all smile and handed me a fat berry, bright red and bursting.

It was the best strawberry I’d ever eaten. “That was amazing,” I said. Gerald’s sister nodded. “The thing is,” she said, “they don’t taste like what you buy in the store. These strawberries are more strawberry.”

I think of Gerald’s family and their strawberries some nights at our own table. Everyone should eat this way. Food of substance, food that’s more food than preservative, food that doesn’t require a can or a cardboard box to get from field to table. Food like this should be a right, not a privilege.

The problem, though: We can’t keep up. Tomatoes, squash, carrots, lettuce, collards, herbs, leeks, broccoli and okra sprout from our garden in mess-hall quantities. When the corn, spinach and potatoes arrive in a few weeks, we’ll be giving food away on street corners, leaving baskets at our neighbors’ doors.

But we don’t complain. Fall is creeping into the air, in cool nights and shorter days and faded leaves on the trees in the yard. Beyond that lurk scarves and snow and barren branches, cold lungs and boiling pots and a farewell to the carrots and tomatoes. Until next year…

the meaning of america

I found a batch of old Proximity essays — things I hadn’t seen in years — and I thought it might be fun to post some of my favorites here…

The Hot Dog Guy will stand on this square of sidewalk from 10:30 a.m. until the sun sets halfway over the Jamaican restaurant, until the warming tray sits empty and his pockets burst with coins. He will stand with his back to the sky, leaning over his metal cart, counting sausages and straightening the mustard jars, and thinking about the way the world has come to be.

The Hot Dog Guy will sell you a Polish sausage with everything on it for $3. A footlong for $2. A Tofu Pup for $1.75. He will grin at you when you walk by, his two front teeth capped in gold, and on sunny days you can almost see your reflection smiling back at you.

You will ask for a dog with pickles and onions. The Hot Dog Guy will nod and wipe his hands across the front of his T-shirt, the one that says, “National Guard: Wisconsin, You Can DO It.” Then he’ll snap on a clean pair of rubber gloves and reach for his tongs, like a surgeon reaching for his scalpel. He’ll turn to the warming tray, swimming with the slippery, brown-gray bodies of hot dogs in all sizes; he’ll dip his tongs into the water, saying, for you, I’ll find the best one. He will transform, before your eyes, into an artist, frankfurters as works of poetry; this is sustenance, he will tell you, and I only sell the best, otherwise the white people, they won’t come.

As he works, the Hot Dog Guy will tell you that he moved here from Cuba in 1975 because he hated Communism. He was 29 then and wanted to be a teacher. Now he sells hot dogs on a city sidewalk in front of a thrift store. But it’s the most popular thrift store in the city, with people coming from every corner–people who need to eat, so he is here to feed them. I picked this spot, he will tell you. I’m the only vendor here. I’m smart–I don’t like competition.

He’ll wrap the dog in white bread and tuck it in a napkin, cradled in the crease of his hand. But he won’t hand it over. Instead, he will look at you, over the top of his sunglasses, and he will ask, Do you know the truth about America? I don’t need to be selling hot dogs. I could be teaching geography if I wanted, at the university.

The Hot Dog Guy, whose real name is Paul Pablo, is fluent in Russian and German. He’ll prove this to you if you look skeptical, asking you questions in languages you don’t understand. The Hot Dog Guy wants you to take him seriously. I been around long enough, I know how this place works.

Then the floodgates breach, and he will tell you all about politics and the importance of multiculturalism and the meaning of freedom. The Hot Dog Guy is a tall man, and he will tower above you, nodding his head so vigorously you’ll wonder if he thinks he can hammer his thoughts directly into your brain.

He will lift his voice to the sun, lost in his own pontification, unaware of the line of customers waiting their turn. The woman behind you will shift uncomfortably and look at her cell phone to check the time, but the Hot Dog Guy won’t notice. The melting pot is coming, he will say, in a voice at the edge of hysteria, in a way so caught up in the emotion of things that he will forget to breath, his words punctuated by an impassioned spray of spittle. You’ll wonder at this point if he forgot your lunch, still waiting in his hand. Ah, he’ll say. Did you want mustard with this? But the Hot Dog Guy won’t wait for your answer. Do you know the history of the Native Americans? he will ask, jabbing the air with your food.

You’ll catch the eye of the woman with the cell phone and give a little shrug, because by now you’ll realize you’re not in control here, and that really this is a gift, a window into the life of a stranger, someone who can so easily strip himself of the protective layers we had come to think permanent and necessary, the defenses the rest of us offer the world that keep us safely unconnected. All for just a $1.75.

So you’ll put your hands in your pockets and nod and listen, the way people do when they have nowhere better to be, nothing waiting for them but the earth turning on its own axis, the movement of the sun across the end-of-summer sky.

spring

This time of year, there shouldn’t be birds outside, in the early morning time. There shouldn’t be bare stretches of shoreline, raw and mud-brown, circling the lake. There shouldn’t be green buds shrugging themselves against the half-thawed earth of our yard.

This time of year we should still be hunkered down, holed away under blankets and space heaters and old wool sweaters pulled from the bottom of the pile. We should be wading through snow drifts up to our knees. We should be trekking across frozen lakes, red-faced, frozen-teared, feeling the sting of thawing noses and fingers as we end up at the coffee shop on the other side, leaving our snowshoes and skis at door, shaking the ice from our heavy-coated limbs and stomping inside. We should be frozen under ice. We should be aching toward spring, the idea of it existing as whisper, as vaporous half-memory. The warmth of any sun should feel as foreign as moon-travel, as the art of walking upside down.

The birds woke me up again today, as they have since Saturday. The lone pile of snow that remains behind our house has shrunk to a husk of gray ice. It is so forlorn that “pile” doesn’t suit it properly — it is more a half-hearted reminder of a winter that never quite came.

withdrawal

It’s official. I’m an addict. (Luckily, I’m not alone.)

Lately I’ve found myself in the following pattern: I wake up, check Apartment Therapy on my iPhone, get up and make coffee, drag myself to the computer, check Pinterest and Design*Sponge and follow the bread-crumb trail of links from design blog to design blog to design blog, until I realize I’m late for work and hurriedly throw my unwashed hair into a ponytail. I’ve found myself openly coveting other people’s homes, disparaging the sudden spike in Chevron-covered pillows at Target (“now there’s a fad that’s passed its prime!!”), and worrying whether the breezy, beachy shade of faded turquoise I love is becoming too popular for me to love anymore.

I have always been a nester. It’s amazing how you can breathe new life into an old space simply by moving around what’s already there. When I was a very small child, I would rearrange my bedroom on what felt like a weekly basis. I would heave heavy dressers and bed frames across the floor until my spindly little arms were covered in bruises. I have always loved bright colors and patterned fabrics, and have long decorated my apartments with fringy tapestries and original art scored from flea markets and the like. I have always liked the look of a wall crowded with artwork, shelves with books arranged by color, big windows with airy curtains and lots and lots of light.

I have always enjoyed creating spaces on nonexistent budgets that feel warm and welcoming, places that feel like home. And I never — or at least, rarely — judged my ability to do so as anything other than sufficient. Until a handful of years ago, I only vaguely knew what “mid-century modern” meant, I thought “Chevron” was just a gas station, and I considered a wall covered in chalkboard paint to be among the most unique ideas I’d ever seen.

Then, last year, we bought our first house. Here I had a blank canvas — truly mine to do with as I liked! The opportunities were only as limited as my own imagination and my budget would allow. I quickly started combing through the archives at Apartment Therapy and other blogs of its ilk, in search of new ideas. I learned my color-coded bookshelves were trendy, and that they inspired hate and dismay among a large and vocal portion of the design blogosphere. I learned chalkboard walls peaked, oh, three or four years ago. And I learned a whole new vocabulary: “Editing” no applied merely to cleaning up words on a page, but also the knick-knacks cluttering up your living room; “curating” no applied only to museum exhibits, but to the adhesion of certain design aesthetics across entire homes.

I became obsessed. I carried color chips in my purse. I spent hours every night combing over the furniture section of Craigslist. I set up a Pinterest account and starting pinning like a mad woman.

Until last week, when I hit bottom. We were getting ready to host a friend’s surprise birthday party, and the sudden prospect of 40 people in our house caused me to fly into a home-decorating panic. I convinced my husband to paint the living room. And the dining room. And the stairwell. And the hallway. When he finished, the walls looked great, but the furniture suddenly looked wrong. “My god,” I thought, “have those bookshelves always looked so dreary? Has that chair always looked so dingy? Has the love seat always looked so Pottery Barn??”

The room felt cramped and thrown together. It felt juvenile. Had months and months of Apartment Therapy-browsing taught me nothing? Suddenly I hated my own house. Instead of inspiring me to try new things, every new blog post only reinforced the fact that no, I do not live in “Carl and Angie’s Bright and Spacious Bungalow” or “Zed and Fred’s Modern Loft with a Vintage Twist” or any of the other homes that are daily offered up for admiration and envy.

Utterly disgusted with myself and my environs, I Googled every incarnation of “narrow living room furniture arrangement” and clicked until my eyes bled. I bought and returned three sets of curtains, two rugs, and four throw pillows, never settling on a single one. I rearranged our living room five or six times in one night, and then again the next morning. I moved heavy furniture from room to room, up and down the stairs. And in the end, I gave up. Except for one bookcase and the record player stand, everything went right back to where it started.

I began showing up at work looking more and more dejected. “I hate my furniture!” I would tell Emily, my office mate. “I hate my house! It’s all wretched! Every last end table! Every last oak bookcase! What was I thinking?? Didn’t I know that oak was so pedestrian? Why did I buy those?!”

Emily raised an eyebrow. “Have you been reading Apartment Therapy again?” she said.

Rendered speechless by the sheer depth of my own despondency, I merely nodded.

Emily sighed. “You need an intervention,” she said. “You need a detox. You need one week without Apartment Therapy!”

I winced. “What about Pinterest?” I said, meekly.

“No Pinterest, either! And no Craigslist, and no real estate websites. None of it. Cold turkey.”

“But what will I do in the morning?” I said.

“You’ll make coffee, and you’ll take your dog for a walk. Do you remember that you have a dog?”

I realized Emily had a point. “Okay,” I said, collapsing into my chair. “I’ll try it.”

I admit, I cheated the first day. And the second. I couldn’t help myself — I’d posted a comment to an Apartment Therapy story about homemade paper flowers, and I wanted to see if anyone had responded. But I haven’t checked it for two days now. Or any of the other sites on my banished list. And instead of wasting an hour or two online yesterday afternoon, I took the dog for a walk. I found him in a dark corner of the basement, barely able to stand and covered in detritus. He perked up the moment we stepped outside.

Not surprisingly, so did I. I remembered what the sun felt like. And though I had to shield my eyes from its all-too-natural glare, I had to admit it was far more appealing than the flickering of a computer screen. On our way home, I noticed small green buds poking through our neighbor’s yard. The dog and I paused, and as I bent down to admire that bright shock of green, the first sign of spring that confirms the season of new beginnings, I realized something incredibly important — it was the perfect color for a rug in our dining room…

the truth about tumbleweeds

Tumbleweed (noun) a. A densely branched plant that breaks off near the ground after maturity and rolls about in the wind, aiding in the dispersal of seeds and spores by scattering them as it tumbles. b. A troublesome weed in central and western United States. c. A cliché of Western movies.

My friend Jim and I were sitting at his kitchen table, drinking beer and discussing the nature of home. We had each moved to Wisconsin from Montgomery, Alabama, following our spouses here—his wife, Trish, for a Ph.D. program; my husband, Joe, for a job. At the time, Wisconsin was the latest pit stop in a litany of cross-country moves, yet part of me wondered whether we’d finally found the place that would entice us to stay awhile.

I shared this with my friend Jim, but he was skeptical. “You’re either roots or a tumbleweed,” he said. “You can’t be both.”

I thought about this for a moment and shook my head. “I don’t know if that’s true,” I said.

I grew up in the Texas panhandle, in the land of tumbleweeds. They rolled down University Avenue, cartwheeled across the pavement outside the Dollar Western Wear, lodged under pickup trucks barreling down I-27. My hometown smells like crude oil and cow manure. It’s a flat, treeless place, with endless amounts of red dirt, barbed wire, and horizon.

Each month, my parents would shuttle us into the minivan and drive south, to our grandparents’ pecan farm near Big Spring. The tumbleweeds and oil derricks and cotton fields that make up the west Texas landscape were as unremarkable to me as the gray, fabric seats of our Ford Aerostar. It was the first landscape that ever felt to me like home.

I wonder if that wide horizon is to thank for the insatiable urge to find out what was on the other side. Because once I left, I didn’t stop: Boston; Washington, DC; the coast of Maine; central Alabama; and, finally, Wisconsin.

There was something addictive about it. Each place became an exercise in shedding something old and acquiring something new, a constant re-invention of place and self and identity.

And there was so much to be found. In Washington, I came to love the concrete smells and many-bodied sounds of the city, the row houses and empanada stands, the known rituals of walking up and down the Metro escalators instead of standing on them. In Maine, I fell in love with snow, with waves crashing into rock, with the fierce independence of remote, roadless communities. In Alabama, I witnessed the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, honored Rosa Parks in the days after she died, and chronicled the brave and humbling stories of civil rights legends.

“Face it,” Jim said, raising his glass in my direction, “you are a tumbleweed.”

What I learned from tumbleweeds isn’t evident in old western movies: that the destination is less important than the distance traveled, than the arc and route of getting from there to here, what you pick up and what you let go of along the way. In that sense, we’re all tumbleweeds, dispersing our seeds and charting our courses.

  ***

 A lot of people have written about home—the joy of finding it, the desire to escape it, the pain of losing it. Maya Angelou describes the “ache of home” that “lives in all of us.” To Angelou, home is something to long toward, a mythical place where one might vulnerably, peacefully be oneself.

Wendell Berry describes home as an active state, as the primary lens through which we learn about, well, everything else. “The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long,” he writes, “but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.” To understand the far-flung places, it seems we must first understand that which is right in front of us.

And, in honor of the cowboy poets of my homeplace, Andy Wilkinson reassures the weary wanderer, “When you wonder where you’re going, where you’ve been, and where you are, remember that the Wise Men followed nothing but a star…. Without the map, the road is still the road”—though elsewhere he warns, “The road that takes you cannot take you back.”

Each time we step out into the world, we have to learn these lessons all over again, for ourselves.

In all the wandering, I never stopped to consider what might be lost. It is a big place, west Texas, so vast and windswept that you sometimes feel you’re the only living thing for miles. There is a stillness there that to outsiders may feel stifling but to me has always offered room to breathe; time slows down and you can consider things. Yet when you leave a place and don’t go back, it can grow hard to claim it as your own. And so, after a while, I began to feel anchorless—a citizen of the United States, if not a particular one.

The truth about tumbleweeds is that sometimes they come to rest. They catch in barbed wire fences, in the gnarled roots of mesquite trees, in the muddy banks of the Brazos. When they land in a wet place, their branches soak up the moisture, and they loosen. Sometimes they dissolve. Sometimes they end up in a field, a whole cluster of them, and get caught in the rows of soybeans or cotton and stay there.

Against a backdrop of uncertainty—what will happen to the economy? who will lead our state? who will lead our nation?—the notion of rooting down has developed an appealing shine. This is no longer a pit stop, a temporary pause while planning other journeys. We woke up one day and realized we were home.

So this is our experiment: What do we lose when we put down roots—and what do we discover? How can we gather and disperse while we remain stationary? I am not a mystic or a deeply spiritual person, but I do believe one can experience stillness in a way that is active and inspired by a sense of seeking. Though we have decided to plant ourselves in this place, we still crane our necks to take in the horizon, the way the sun sets over the neighbor’s trees, the sound of urban wilderness at early morning light. There is an adventure and a purpose in this rooted place, and it’s our job now to find it.

originally published in ON LOST & FOUND, Spring 2012