As I begin to overlap the months--- watching now-familiar trees bud out for the second time, picking bouquets of the mock-orange whose fragrance first greeted me upon moving in this time last year---I feel a strange tenderness toward this home. Very little, outwardly at least, has changed for the better in our dwelling-place. Our habitation of it has worn bare spots into the floors, greasemarks onto the walls, flaking spots into the paint and splintered bits into the sills. The door no longer fits cleanly and has to be wrestled with whenever one wants to leave. The stucco of the ceiling looks dingy. Drawers don't quite close. The oven doesn't work. Anything that was breakable has long since broken.
What was once bare dry grass is now a garden, with tomatoes and herbs and salad and beets and figs and lemons. There is a fireplace where once a plastic lounge chair sat quietly moldering. Soil that once could not hold water has now been fortified with a full year's eggshells and vegetable peelings and stays in place, drinking thirstily, when it rains. Not only that: there are earthworms! We never saw a one when we first dug the garden. Now the earth is teeming with them.
Still, the best changes are invisible. I moved here, not as a conscious choice to be HERE, but simply to flee something else. I spent a lot of time licking my wounds. And now, at the close of a year's residency in this admittedly tight cocoon, I am fully ready to move TOWARD something. For its own sake. What felt sterile and afraid in me is now quickened and reaching. There are earthworms in my soil now too! (uhhh...not to put too fine a point on it.)
I will probably keep writing for a time, because I love to write, and because this blog/confessional/vanity press doesn't feel quite finished. But I want to pause and thank those of you who have journeyed with me this far. I remember biking past Culver Studios in April of last year and seeing that unknown man skipping down the steps, joyful, and feeling so certainly that I was home. Yesterday I passed the same spot. But this time I was traveling with a friend, someone I'd never met this time last year, someone now dear. The streets were full of people. Near the place where, a year ago, I wrote of my conversation with a stranger at a traffic light, I watched the president of the united states pass in his caravan while the inhabitants of my city cheered and waved. Overlap. Things grow deeper as we pass over them again and again.
I don't think any of this would be so clear had I not documented it here. Thank you for being the anonymous audience that helped to form my memory. These lines that link us all together, we who share this stretch of time on earth, the only ones who ever will---I can feel the connection more keenly for having written these things down, and for your reading of them. Does that make sense? A stranger so quickly becomes a friend. A strange place so quickly becomes a home.