One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reprise: The Landscape In Between

I kinda feel this way again, everyone.  Is it the time of year?  Maybe…

*     *     *     *     

I am in that straddling place.

That place that is one part rocky and one part sand. One part windy and one part heat. The place that is the water between two islands, that long stretch when you can't see land but you know it is behind you and you know it is in front of you and so you contemplate your options, tread water or swim, baby, swim...

I choose to swim, but I am tired. Man, am I tired.

It's an age old place, and an age old murmur in the brain. I know that the straddling place should have its own name. It shouldn't be nameless, those that are nameless don't turn their heads to familiar voices because no one calls to them, no one can call to them. And so they grow more and more aloof, and protective. They grow vines with thorns.

I also know that, truly, the straddling place does have many names. My friend, Kara, who teaches yoga calls it being in the moment. And my son, Luc, who is a cross country runner, calls it the zone.  There are other names too: the process, patience and faith.  Even I have given it names before. My favorite is it is what it is. Kind of catchy, right? Chameleon-like. When I call it that I feel bold and brave. I feel like an explorer who is in it simply for the rocks and the sand and the wind and the sun.

But that name escapes my brain now, and I can't find my compass or my map, and I forgot to bring enough water and nuts. I'm tired. I'm hungry. And I feel like I'm on uneven ground.

Oh my gosh. Pathetic.  I don't mean to be pathetic. I mean to be honest and I mean to put these three questions out to you all:

What do you call this place? What is its landscape?  And how do you find a sense of home here?

*    *    *    *    *    *

Last night I sat on the couch and finished a book. A great book.  One that inspired me as a person and as a writer. The pellet stove was chugging. The room was warm. I had a glass of seltzer on the window sill behind me with just the right amount of fizz because yesterday was pay-day and I went to the store to finally buy a new CO2 canister. The chickens were tucked into their coop, but my middle daughter, Zory, tread down the stairs, too late for her to be awake.

You should be in bed I said.

I can't sleep she said.  She looked at the book face down on my lap.  What book is that?

A really good one I said. Actually I read it to see if you might like it. And I think you will.

She stretched out her hand. I put the book carefully in it. She read a page. She looked at the cover. Is this Maureen or Debbie?* she asked, pointing to the girl riding over a bridge on her bike.

Debbie I said. You need to go to bed. You have school tomorrow. 

But I can't sleep. Don't you ever feel that way?

For some reason the question brought tears to my eyes. I nodded my head in agreement.

So can I read a little more? she asked. Just until the end of the chapter. Please?  I like the book so far.

I nodded again.

Zory leaned back on the other side of the couch. Her knees were bent and the book rested on her thighs. I looked out the window. It was black outside. I felt the glass on the window. And cold. It was cold out there too. The last remnants of winter skulking around in the night. I looked back at Zory. Her brow was furrowed. Her mouth was slightly open. She was unaware of me in that ten-year-old way that she usually was. When had it happened? When had she become the kind of reader that walked inside a book and sat down with girls like Maureen and Debbie and didn't walk out until she was done?  When had she become the kind of reader that I had dreamed I would give birth to, who would sit on the couch with me, warmed by the stove and warmed by the words?

Twice in one night Zory brought tears to my eyes.

I thought about the Zory of before, I thought about where she was going.  And, last night, I felt like I could sit on that couch forever in that place in between, in that straddling place. In that place I call home.

*    *    *    *    *    *

It is what it is.  The zone.  Being in the moment.  The process, patience and faith.

What do you call this place? What is its landscape?  And how do you find a sense of home here?

Gratefully yours,


*Can you guess what book Zory was reading??

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