December 28, 2005

I have been in the States for two weeks now. More distinctly, I have been in Crestline for two weeks, for the first time since I was seventeen. Yesterday, Jenn and I were driving into town and I saw someone on the sidewalk that I vaguely recognized. I don’t know who he was, or if I went to school with him, but I want to know why his face fell so dramatically when he saw me in the car. Maybe he mistook me for someone else.

Today I overheard my aunt mention that she’d answered the phone the night before, and it was a wrong number. “But it was Mike, he had just misdialed” she said. My uncle responded, “You know it’s a small town when you get a wrong number and it’s family”. I thought that was rather funny and beautiful.

Sunday was the first family Christmas I’ve attended since I was a teenager. It was boisterous and noisy and fun and colorful and just as I remembered it. It was exhausting. They’ve added more family since I was last here, it’s a gorgeous thing. Little ones running around with familiar faces. I took hundreds of pictures.

I try to keep afloat. I work on, catching up from my absence at school. I still take my camera with me everywhere, and my sketchbook. I draw every day. It is something to cling to, in the midst of all this unfamiliar familiarity. I know I was born here, I know all the winding, forested streets and have woken from so many dreams over the years where I walked them, late at night, as I used to when I was younger. Still, I feel absolutely lost. I think it is simply a transition, casting off my own preconceptions and allowing myself to exist here 100% without worry. Maybe I will feel better after the holidays, when the phone rings a little less, and the shock of my newness is worn away for everyone else.

Really, I don’t know what to say here. It has just been so long that I felt I had to say something. Two weeks ago I was sitting on the roof of our hotel in Athens, noticing Orion hovering over the glowing Acropolis, taking in all the beauty of leaving and parting and moving forward and exhaling without a sigh. Today, I spent an hour drawing endless delicate waves crashing on one another, with intimations of islands hovering in the distance. It was a beautiful hour, though there have been many beautiful hours since I arrived. This one was the most recent. All those still, silent waves. At night I dream of dark houses that I walk through alone, looking for lights or stones or other objects to cling to. In the mornings, I get up with the sun, before the mist has dissolved from the trees.

Before I came back, I thought “I have always loved the afternoon light in my mother’s kitchen.” At three o’clock every day, something clicks and I look up from whatever I am doing and I notice that golden, liquid light sliding in sideways between the pines and through the sheer white curtains into my mother’s kitchen.

Wherever I walk in the world, there is always that beautiful light.

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