Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sense of Place

One thing I love about staying in five different places in one week is discovering how the morning sun shines in.

For as long as I can remember, my first step in visiting anywhere new was to venture out and explore the territory. Place is everything to me -- where am I? What is around me? Where am I in it?

I keep any space where I am neat and tidy, especially on the road. It's an outward expression of claiming sanity and order amidst chaos and confusion. When we moved to Ohio decades ago, I was convinced that there would be pockets of quicksand on our new-to-us six-acre property. Understanding that we were moving to a humid, high-foliage deciduous valley, I navigated the property to ensure my baby brother or father wouldn't accidentally fall into a pit of mire and be lost forever (apparently it was a male-only concern). By looking for quicksand, I found precious getaway spots I'd use for years to reclaim inner peace -- the playhouse, the streambed, the downed tree across the shale gnome house.

We moved to Ohio from Colorado, where I never found any quicksand, either. It's where I've spent the past five or so days and yesterday, Deborah Henson-Conant and I -- after our 3-day Kolacny Music (thank you, Dave and Debbie!) "residency" in Denver, Colorado -- drove through Franktown, where I had spent some very formative years.

I wasn't prepared for the flood of memories. There is Franktown Elementary School, brand new when we attended. There is the nondescript bus stop at the junction of Huckleberry and Ponderosa. There's where I attended a weird Halloween party where I felt the dark side of possibility. And there is where that boy lived that told me about.... yeah. There is where that snarling vicious German Shepherd was fenced-in. And there is that other person's house that had a small stream or pond and a tree in the middle of it, now a brick red with bright green trim. There are the pair of pine climbing trees that my sister and I claimed as our vertical escape hatches from the menagerie of daily childhood unfairness -- they were giants when we lived there, and now they are now only a hammock's width apart.

There is our house! Our HOUSE! Right there!

There are the dirt roads that we treacherously meandered down on our green and white girl bikes in an exhilarating rush of risk and speed. Together with our neighborhood friends we monopolized that space under the wide open blue sky. We claimed our voices and our bodies and our relationships with wild and reckless abandon. We sported a bravery in a pocket of Colorado that moved us beyond our years and Douglas county.

Oh that bursting of my heart! All the cold tears for how physical space and my relationship to it infuses who I am today. Oh that rushing of awareness that I created a new story when I moved from this space, one that I still wear in all its age and tatteredness. And the richest part of all -- the realization that parts of that story are no longer true, and other parts are so true they ring out as clear crystal gonging bells in my soul. Those are what I'm listening to now.

Today we travel to Liberal, Kansas for Deborah's show tonight. Travel + music + inner work = outer bliss.

Another imperfect post, this time accompanied by:
Heart of the Sunrise (Yes)
Wild Horses (Gino Vannelli)


  1. wow....I don't think I'm brave enough to revisit my childhood haunts...

    Even your thoughts are lyrical! Hope your journey this month is fabulous!

  2. Precious time for you! You haven't been back there in so long! So glad you were able to take that wonderful drive back in time.