Back from the Beloved River

I’m back from my yearly pilgrimage to the first home of my heart, and it’s all I can think about.

Not in a bad way, like it has been some years, not like a recent wound. In fact, I’ve never been so eager to leave.

I spent the last night in my tent dreaming of choking, while my sleeping body struggled to breathe through intense congestion in my head and chest. By the time I got home, I felt like I’d run six hours, instead of driven them. A day of rest, including sleeping in my own bed, never leaving my bathrobe, and commandeering four midday hours for a nap, felt pretty sweet.

So I’m glad to be home, which I think is a good sign. And I keep thinking back to my redwoods week, which–finally–feels like a gift. I’ve always known I carry this place with me, but often enough that’s felt like a sentence of exile. Today it feels like a grace, a backbone, a friend.

Here’s a piece I wrote about this friend, and the complications of relating to them, published last September in Empty Mirror.

Early Light, Mill Creek Mouth

I never read as much as I imagine I will during my week away. Certainly I read, but I also spend so much time just sitting with the words, resonating them, sending them out into my surroundings and listening for how they change as they echo back. I am only good at this when I feel unhurried and one-minded, and my redwoods are one of the few places that reliably induce that state in me.

So I spent a very long morning with David Budbill’s Moment to Moment, which delighted and occasionally irritated me. The irritation was part of the delight, in retrospect. I started another book, too, but I kept returning all week to the poems in Moment to Moment. I’ve now dropped it back at the library, and find myself wishing I owned a copy; therefore struggling with my desire to Buy Fewer Things.

I discovered Budbill’s work, by the way, through the wonderful recent anthology Poetry of Presence. I read that on the train to and from another home place, and it too I recommend completely.

Talking of which, here’s a (very) short mindful poem of my own, drafted at my river last year, and published in last month’s Kissing Dynamite.

Translation Fail. Still.

Thoughts? Questions? Stories to share?

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