Kris does something with words that I have come to call exploding a moment because she can take one small crumb from the back of her memory and make it erupt into color and sparkle all over your computer screen.
Plus also? Kris teams up with Adrienne to kick my butt in gear when I am feeling sorry for myself. They legitimately build me up when I need it, but they can spot a whiner and they NEVER let me get away with it.
I highly recommend her blog, Pretty All True, not just for the content, but the commenters are always lively too! You canNOT be let down by Kris. Unless swearing and a wee bit of sex turns you off. She MAY get saucy
Anyway, I will stop blabbering about Kris and let you read her lovely post. Oh, and you can follow her on twitter. She stops by there
Fighting for Place
In the years before I entered 3rd grade, I attended many schools. Seven, maybe? Eight?
We moved a lot.
And so, on the first day of the school year? As I walked down the aisles of my new elementary school for the very first time? I had no real sense of this being a permanent place for me. It was just where I would spend my days until the next time for packing and moving arrived.
Always sooner rather than later, and always unexpectedly, that moment seemed to arrive.
It was better not to forge connections, as the inevitable breaking? Would be painful.
And so I tried to step lightly in my new temporary place. To leave no footprints. None to mark where I had been and none for anyone to follow. I was here, as I always was . . . alone. Better that way. Safer.
And so . . . when we were released for recess, I made myself as small and invisible as possible and moved silently through the colorful noisy crowds. Past the children, past the play equipment, past the four-square markings on the concrete. Through the grass . . . to a tree.
An enormous elm tree.
At the base of this enormous elm? A huge gnarled system of roots surrounded and encircled the trunk, reaching out and into the air before plunging down into the earth. There were spaces and gaps through which hands could be reached, where earth should have been but was missing.
My impression was of some giant force, some huge clenching unseen hands, reaching down from the sky to pluck this tree from the earth. But the tree? Had fought back. Had clutched and stretched for a better grip, had clawed its way deeper into the earth below. Had resisted the pull from above. Had triumphed.
This tree had fought to be here, in my imagination.
And so the roots were not quite where they were supposed to be. Not buried, but exposed. Evidence of the battle that had been waged for a place in this world.
A permanent place.
I walked the rooted circle around the tree, delighted to find that my feet needed never to touch the ground. My thin-soled shoes curved around the roots as I felt for steady purchase, one step at a time. No one paid any attention to me, and I felt? Magical and other-worldly.
And yet rooted.
I walked around and around and around . . . a whole imagined history of frenzied struggling grasping for stability below me.
And then the bell rang.
That first day of 3rd grade.
At my new school.
And I went in and took my seat in my brand new class. Sat in a room of strangers. Sat quietly and tried to gauge my place. My temporary place in this world.
Marveled at and was caught up in the unimaginable blue eyes of the teacher, who smiled kindly in my direction.
Fell in love and then squeezed my eyes shut against that love.
Remembered the pain of other connections broken.
Took out my pencil and set to work. Preparing myself here for whatever was to come next. In the next place.
Looked up again into sparkling friendly blue eyes. Thought back to the Elm that had fought and triumphed for permanence, for place.
Gave of myself just a little. Opened a bit. Maybe this would be the place.
The permanent place.
I ended up staying for eight years.
And for eight years?
I struggled to put down roots. Like that tree, that lovely Elm around which I would dance alone for countless recesses over the years. I struggled to force my roots down into the ground, to grab and hold and triumph.
But it was not to be.
I was at that school for eight years, but unseen hands?
Just outside the breadth of this story?
Reached down repeatedly to rip me from my place.
And I proved?
To be vulnerable and unable to maintain my grip.
On my place in this world.
So many years of my life spent rootless.
But on that first day of 3rd grade?
At my new school?
As I navigated my way round that magic tree?
For a moment?
In that new beginning?
All seemed possible.