A bit of background about me…
I just discovered this piece, when I was going through the archives of my computer. It’s a snippet I wrote based on the model of Leonard Michaels’ essay “In the Fifties.” Somehow it feels like it would fit here, as it kind of gives some background about me, and where I am in my life right now. And I like it. So here it is.
In The Two-Thousands
In the two-thousands, I left the only home I had ever known. I learned that you can gain a new home without losing the first.
I failed for the first time – a driver’s test. I survived the experience.
I had my first job, and found unexpected joy in the early-morning sun streaming in through the windows and the smell of fresh-baked bread.
I spent long warm summer hours watching airplane contrails crisscross the sky, wondering what journeys their passengers were beginning.
I was told that I was special. I was given a medal; the ribbon was too long, and it weighed me down like a stone. I was invited to meet the President. But when I came, he was away in Mexico.
I read hundreds of novels, filled my head with stories, populated my world with imaginary characters and adventures.
I fought with my parents, and wanted to be far away. Then, when I was, my heart hurt from missing them.
I discovered a love of running – not from anywhere, not to anywhere. Just to be outside and moving and free.
I spent a summer in Australia. My memories of it have faded slightly, but I recall the bright colors, the warm, dry air, and the kind smiles of passerby.
I witnessed my grandmother, always so strong and loving, be transformed by cancer – as it stole away her hair, then her strength, her speech, her mind – until there was nothing left and she was gone.
I was not flexible enough to touch my toes. I started doing yoga. I still could not touch my toes. But that was never really the point, anyway.
I spent many winter afternoons walking my dog through the quiet streets of my small town. I marveled in the lack of color: the gray sky melting into the nearly-white snow and faded concrete. The only color came from my dog’s small dark eyes, and the thin bare tree branches reaching ever upward. And my purple jacket.
I collected sea glass, shards of broken bottles worn smooth by the water. My brother quickly gave up, saying that there were too few, and everyone uses plastic bottles these days anyways. But I had no trouble finding them. They sparkled like jewels in the sand.
I rolled down a hill, laughing, grass in my hair.
I took a train to Montana. For two days I stared out the windows, entranced.
I stood on the roof of a tall building in the middle of the night, and wondered if this was what it felt like to be young and reckless.
I kept a journal. I kept many journals. I filled them with youthful scribbles, theoretical musings, records of my days. I do not write in them so much anymore.
I took a course in philosophy. My friend asked me what on earth I thought I would do with a degree in philosophy. Does it matter? I asked.
And that was the end of the two-thousands.