Leaving is a funny thing. There are more and more places that I have left pieces of myself in; the space in my heart has become crowded with the people who have made these places feel like home. Life in these places has not been perfect, and I each time I miss the far-away people that I love. But leaving makes frustrations fall away. In the moments before leaving a place, that’s when I am the most in love with it. Isn’t it always that way?
This summer has been no different. In Flagstaff, the sun pulled freckles out of my skin more easily because I was up on a mountain closer to the sun. The rain here was always a storm - intense and dangerous, but beautiful and short-lived. The trees are gentle giants, whispering quietly in the hot, dry sun and perfuming the breeze with a warm sweetness, like the scent of liquid brown sugar simmering on a stove.
Surely I will come back to this place again, just like the other places I have called a home (for a time, anyway).
The memory of the smell of winter in Red Rocks pulls air in through my nose to the back of my brain, convincing me that I can almost smell the snow and the sand in the cold winter air, if only I could breathe just a little deeper I’d be there again.
The most encompassing memory of Moab is always visual. Nothing creates such a grand sense of awe as the geology there: sharp, clean lines suggesting something absolute; and the colors - pink, orange, aquamarine, lime - more brilliant than anyone would consider putting on a palette of earth-tones. Each visit reveals that the images in mind are always duller than the reality of the desert.
Panama - what a cacophony of senses. Breathing in felt like you’d choke on the air, it was so humid. It was never quiet, there was a soundtrack for everything: bullfrogs chirped as you fell asleep, monkeys howled at the crack of dawn, cargo ships bellowed from the Panama Canal during lunch. Walking by a a Spondias tree inspired me to linger when it had ripe fruit that infused the air with the most enticingly sweet scent, but a few days later I would hurry past the same tree to escape the rotting, sickly smell in the air from the yellow, goopy fruit dropped to the ground. And every time I feel rain on my skin, I am reminded of the rain in the forest in Panama. There is nothing like it, it’s nearly constant but not strong, the warm, soft droplets slide through countless layers of canopy before falling to the ground in the understory.
The memories Columbus are sweetened by of the friends I have there. The memory that describes this best is leaving a party and riding South down High Street on a cloudy fall night towards home with. The road has just enough of a downgrade so that you can stop pedaling after you gain momentum - it feels less like riding and more like flying. Moisture hangs in the night air, it is cool and refreshing and the breeze whips into your face, seeping in into your pores and making your eyes widen. Suddenly you are alert after beers and background noise have dulled your senses for a few hours, and there’s a promise that you will soon be snuggled in a bed warm and content, dreamlessly sleeping as soon as you close your eyes.
It’s always a struggle for me to accept the new things at first. As if somehow, loving the someplace new will mean I love the other places less. Like there’s not enough room inside me to contain everything I want to remember. But each time I find a bit more room to squeeze the memories of a new place, a new home, a new person into my brain or my heart or wherever memories and feelings reside.
His spine: like stones in a line
stones washed smooth by a river’s flow
slick like the black of a lake at midnight
under a sky with no moon
Only the pricks of stars.
Her stomach: soft as water
soft like fingers touching the surface
of the cool, motionless lake.
the fluttering, the
that we crave to catch,
understand, feed upon.
Tiny —> Grand
For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God.
We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system.
We are here to drink beer.
We are here to kill war.
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
We are here to read these words from all these wise men and women who will tell us that we are here for different reasons and the same reason."