Places

Posted: May 4, 2010 in beautiful
Tags: , , , , ,

Places carry symbolic content.  The content settles. The content changes.

The woods I grew up in the Midwest are a beautiful wild place in my mind — tan deer in  green fields in the late blue evenings, green striped bass hiding under soggy brown tree roots in silver streams we fished in, wild dark brown  morels popping up by decaying black logs in the light green spring, dry oak and elm leaves crunching as I walked through them in the winter, fire flies blinking off and on in the field in front of the house.

The  home in Southern California that my wife and I bought while my children were growing up is in my mind a, safe, clean, cozy, fireplaced refuge —  bedrooms where I pushed little shoes on my babies’ feet,  a tile-countered kitchen where we celebrated their birthday parties with cake and ice cream on bright paper plates, new sidewalks outside on which I walked them to grade school and back, holding their small, sweaty hands tightly. I now rent this home  to someone else. It is their home now. It has changed, but it will always be for me the place where my babies grew into young women.

The church I  attend is an artist’s palate, a old Spanish Revival building that our congregation has committed to repaint, to re-stucco, to redecorate, to re-cabinet, to re-beautify. It has had a tough history during some of its last 30 years,  but it has good DNA too. I was baptized there. I was married there. It is a place of beginnings  for me.  Now it is becoming a  place of giving for me, of doing for other people,  of opening the doors to a new set of people in my life.

The city I live in here in Southern California  used to be  for me a place to drive in, to walk in, to eat in, to shop in, to make friends in, to make a home it. But this has changed. I have lived here a long time. I have both thrived here and I have been broken here. My city has been a safe place; it has been an unsafe place.

 I have seen it change, and I have seen myself change.  I have lived here trying to suck sommething from the ground, trying to add something to myself from the beautiful, master-planned  neighborhood I live in.  That is changing.   I am beginning to want to give something back to my city. I am beginning to have odd feelings concerning my city and the people who live around me. I am beginning to  love the people in my city, and I am starting to take responsibility for them.

I feed them, cloth them, teach them, write for them and I try to  take them under my wing and comfort them. And I try each day to take the people of my city asside and  call beauty out of them.

I am outnumbered. I am small and weak. My limits are extremely obvious.

I am entirely undiscouraged by that.

I embrace today as another day to make a momumental difference here.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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