Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Home and Hannah Coulter

Where are you going, Canada Geese who are not going to or from Canada?  You fly low and west, a squadron of you, not too far above my window on this full moon night. Now another squadron, or perhaps the same one joined by a battalion, flies east, on the far side of the field, toward Route 15, in the pink sky sunset.

I am waiting to take a photo of the sunset and the silhouette of the campus I have loved for forty-six years.

Carolina Wren just visited the feeder on my window. Silhouette thunked arrival, grabbed a beakful of seeds, and sprang off, as the bells rang five.

Tonight, not last night, is the full moon night, and it’s clear.  I tried to take a photo of it from my window, but it’s not much of a photo. Here’s a much better one , from a blog called "Grace-filled thoughts", unidentified photographer:

Back to reading Hannah Coulter again for class tomorrow:

I read this description of Christmas Dinner as she described it in her first year as a young married woman, in 1941, in the little town of Port William:

“I was making myself at home. In the dark way of the world I had come to what would be my life’s place, though I could not yet know the life I would live in it.” (40)

 This made me think of Emmitsburg.  When I arrived here as an 18 year old girl, to the college, in 1966, I loved it right away.  But I did not know that it would be my life’s place.

“… You could say that Port William has never been the same place two minutes together. But I think any way it has ever been it will always be. It is an immortal place… (42)

That made me think of West Chester. I stopped and thought of driving West on Gay Street, through the main part of town, looking left, up at the Green Tree Building, crossing over High Street, looking at the building I knew as Woolworths that is now the Iron Hill Brewery. That street has been the scene of many dreams over the years. I think of it now and feel a deep sadness, an absence and emptiness, knowing that my parents are both dead and will never walk or drive down that street with me again.  In the years from about 1998 through 2007, when they were both still alive but so changed from the parents I grew up with, they were, in many ways, already gone, but their hearts were still beating on this earth, and their hands were still warm when I held them, and their eyes still turned to my face when I spoke to them. Now I feel their absence more strongly than I did during the first months after each of their deaths, as the combined reality of their combined death settles within me. West Chester may be immortal, but the human presence of Vince and Ellen was very mortal.  And it’s gone from the streets of West Chester, and I feel the absence.

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