Friday, March 23, 2007
There is no simple way to write about the past three days. If one said 'I went home' and left it at that it might be simple. But it is more complicated than that. Going home can't be simple because one left for a reason and when you return, you return changed. The past and present collide. The life you live discovers that the language you speak is not born of the present but of the past. But you speak it with an accent now. You are no longer native and while you think in that language - you don't speak it the same and something as simple as a conversation changes.
Once upon a time, I grew up in a dilapidated house on a farm where there stood a barn, a garage, several chicken coops, a garden, a tin shed for the pigs, there was a light pole to show a home was there in the middle of an empty section. There were tall trees with two ropes from which hung tires. There were sheep, goats, cats, a variety of other animals and a dog named Bonnie. Four of us children lived there with our parents. We grew up and everyone left. And now everything is gone.
(where the story started)
You can stop in the past and drink the water but you cannot stay. Weeds have grown where productive life was. Life never stops in those by-ways and roadsides, it moves on along a road where we all must walk or lose sight of our hope.
(the water tanks maintained for our landlord instead of paying rent money)
I came from a land that is much wilder than I remember - there is little about it that is tame. I would guess that when settlers first homesteaded it anything they brought in soon look dried out and frayed. There is something about the land here that denies anything new but that which can be fed by rain and wind. And now the civilization in this country is passing on - the wind and rain have won and are at the business of returning the land to itself.
The schools shrink until they must consolidate and those new schools shrink and people move away. And churches can no longer sustain a pastor and so they share a man with another church. And people grow tired and pass away.
But there are those who stay - and they are beautiful. There is the temptation to romanticize their life - to suggest that they somehow have achieved a level of goodness and purity that those of us who live in the corruption of the city can't achieve. There is the desire to say - it is better.
It isn't. I wasn't the only one to leave. All of my siblings left as did my parents. And it wasn't because they had always dreamed to leave. There are ways that isolated communities are difficult in ways that aren't nice.
There is part of me that wonders, what if? For it was good to connect to the roots of my language the place that speaks deepest. The well=spring that God gave me to use in viewing this world - where my poetry, photography, words, and craft come from. Because I am sure my photography would look different if I grew up somewhere else. My metaphors would shift. My inspiration certainly would not sit in the odd places it does.
more to come...