Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours.

I love moments of remembering the magic of childhoodthe things I once took for granted and then lost along the way. I took a long walk through my hometown this morning, snapping photos as I went.

Starting point: Yields from backyard garden, a point of pride.

I'm going to get this out of the way: growing up, I walked through a lot of cemeteries.

I live near a few. And there was once a time when I couldn't drive a car or work a job or three, so I walked everywhere I wanted to go. Graveyard walks have been necessary, sometimes. Sometimes they make for great shortcuts. Sometimes they were places to be quiet and alone.

First stop, Belorussian cemetery. Always heavily gated/fenced in. We never cut through here, making it more appealing...

Across the street: Washington Cemetery. A long, hilly walk.

The railroad tracks that cut through town. I was forbidden from walking or biking around them--too dangerous. But whenever they crossed the road we used to skim for pennies flattened by trains on the tracks. Finding a Railroad Penny meant a lucky day--it was as precious to us kids as finding some smooth sea glass.

A newer pleasure of mine: espresso.

Galāo = espresso in steamed milk = delicious

It was a hot, dry day and people sat outside the cafe at tables with umbrellas. When those filled up, they lined up chairs along the wall of the building. People sat for hours talking, smoking, and getting hot coffee refills. It felt like I was on Long Street, Cape Town, on a glorious Sunday afternoon.

Place. My sense of place, my feeling of attachment to a location, is one of the strongest, clearest emotions I can feel. It absolutely drives all my creative outputs. I once wrote a love letter to Madison, WI, and it's still one of my favorite bits of writing.

I used to live next door to this church. I have a distinct memory of standing here, looking up, and telling my father that it was the tallest building in the world. (I was four.) He told me he worked in New York City, and buildings existed there that were 10 or 100 times taller. I told him I didn't believe him.

Nothing so jarring as the sight of an abandoned school:

No stickball, you hooligans!

Home. I've been thinking about home, what home means. What I'm supposed to be doing here, learning here. I don't have an ultimate answer, but it gets a little clearer every day.

It feels right that I got my contributor's copy of Cactus Heart 8.5 in the mail this week, and saw this in print:

I also CANNOT stop listening to "Neighborhood 1 (Tunnels)" by the Arcade Fire.

It's the song I've been trying to sing! (Yes I am crying right now!)

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