Saturday, September 15, 2007


Today: massage, time spent at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts (where I purchased many beautiful cards, books, small pieces of literary history, and a membership), and used book stores. Walking along the edges of the university, remembering coffee and studying and conversations and reading and that education to which I hope to return. At night, we drove Uptown, spent the evening with good friends--Lane and Angie coming up from Winona--the four of us at Jay and Kathy's--Jay, a good friend and from the same graduate program as Husband and Lane. A condo with great windows, each of us sighing at the view as we walked in, wonder, seeing Lake Calhoun, the cityscape, watching the sun devour the clouds and night settle in.

I am the kind of person who doesn't quite know how to answer the question: "Where are you from?"

I have to ask the questioner to explain.

You see, I grew up in the south, learned how to love the trails at the end of the road, the mountains, the sound of cicadas and crickets as a storm approaches. I learned how to dissect animals, how to multiply, how to love reading (and that library that looked like a straw hat). So maybe I'm from Chattanooga.

I spent high school in Green Bay; I never loved it there. There are good things about Wisconsin (meeting Husband being one), but I cannot return--there is too much repelling me. I do not belong to this place of soggy beer, squeaky cheese curds, bellowing, football.

Now, Minnesota. I love this land--the shape, the curvature of hills, the city. I miss Minneapolis fiercely and often. When I return, my heart flops, a frog off a lilypad, missing, missing, plop.

I don't think I can answer the question: I am from... (I am for an art, yes?) I am from: cicadas, crickets, low-slung mountains, dogwood. I am from thunderstorms and southern drawls and corn bread. I am from poetry and theatre and language. I am from literature and literary theory and ordinary reading. I am from glass cities and book arts and art museums and the Purple Onion. I am from universities and brick buildings and ivy and loons. I am from traveling and cabins and longing and rivers. I am from bridges rebuilt and faith restored. I am from my heart, I travel with his heart, I have many hearts. I am from this earth.


Medea Zorba said...

I often have the same problem answering the question of where I'm from. Granted, my many moves have all been within Minnesota. But home is no longer Mankato because I have no one to go back for. Home will never be Duluth, no matter how beautiful it is, or how long my parents stay. I like your answer very much. I may need to adopt something similar. Oh, and coincidentally, my uncle lives in Chattanooga, and my dad is there visiting him right now. I didn't know you grew up there. But now I do. The end.

Blue Yonder said...

Your answer is perfect. A sense of place is important, yes, but a sense of one's self is even more so :-)