not to get lost. To make maps
of stone and grass, to rub stars together,
find a spark."
~from "Spark," a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
Sometimes it is in the wandering that we find ourselves in the most perfect of places.
Just now, I am curled up on a couch in the lounge of a college in Vermont, happily tuning in and out of conversations around me; tuning in to hear discussions of publishing, of writing styles, point of view and audience. Tuning out to reflect on the day, on the last few days, on the end of last year. Last year when I came to this place of wonderfulness at the very end and after too long in transit. Tuning out to think of the next few days and the future smiling at me.
To settle back into a small city, even if just for this period of 12 days, is beautiful. Walking everywhere--20 minutes down a slushy slide of a road to the downtown, dumptrucks loaded with snow driving past, clearing the way. On either side of the main streets quaint shops, local and proudly green or organic or handmade all. Espressos in honey-wooden rooms, crepe cafes and mad tacos and the most alice-in-wonderland sort of thrift stores. A sweater I have hunted for 8 years! Late night viewings of Les Miserables with my roommate at the old cinema by the capitol building and a taxi ride back through the night.
Engaging in lectures on all sorts of wonderful subjects; of craft and of creation, of theories and possibilities and fascinations of all kinds. Readings that make you hold your breath, unable to breathe for the beauty of the words, of the particular arrangement of those precisely chosen words one after another in art and in meaning (and are those the same, afterall?). Losing yourself in workshops; reading and thinking and sharing--this wonderful back and forth--dialogue to take a work from what it is to even better; to impossibly better. Beautiful.
I love the new faces, the new stories, the new friendships being made. The fact that this place is obviously a community that exists across space and regardless of this particular place; the understanding so crystalline that when we leave this particular here we will still be together talking and sharing and exchanging. Pushing and encouraging each other and continuing these dialogues. Continuing this lovely engagement. To not only go out with a group of friends, of fellow students, but with professors you cannot wait to work with; have so much to glean from.
I love that in all my wandering without roads, I am found here, in this perfect place. Ready to wander some more, ready to make maps of stone and grass and to find a spark--to make a spark. To write.