Have you left home? Driving home today I listened to "Talk of the Nation," where they were speaking with Azar Nafisi who has a new book out. I have forgotten the title. Rats. Well, anyway, she wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. A Memoir in Books, and Things I've Been Silent About. Yes, she has the best titles, ever. Her newly released book is about living as an exile in a different country than the one in which you were born. I love listening to her. Her voice is beautiful, her syllables make me want to write and read to you. She included in the discussion, leaving your country by choice, going back and finding that change has swept through all of your reference points. Callers enriched the discussion with their experiences, one young writer from Haiti who spoke of her parents' fleeing Haiti for political reasons, and how she feels that she is an immigrant here, in the USA. Azar Nafisi spoke of how each of us leaves somewhere.
To me it sounded like if I died and then came back to my house. Someone else would be living here, their furniture set up, their food in the refrigerator, their laundry in front of the washing machine, their smells in the walls.
I left my home town many years ago. Because of it's location and history it hasn't changed much. I still recognise and am recognised on Main Street, well, in the Ivanhoe anyway. The Victorian Buildings still line the street, the ocean rumbles in the background, the fog rolls in or never leaves, the cows are brought in to milk.
Other things have changed. In me. I distinctly remember leaving home, a few times.
I have no desire to recreate, or relive the past. Lately I have felt more solidly grounded within my Life, which surprises me somewhat, as I thought that I was already here. This is different. Today by afternoon the temperature was up to and past 80. The sky blue. The Madrone berries create swaths of red across the hills, the vineyards yellow. On my skin the warmth feels strange, yet soothing. I realize that while it is unseasonably warm, I am accepting this gift of a summer day in mid November.
Not worrying about climate disaster, or impending doom, or lack of anything, or loneliness I am free to experience this moment. Not defending my opinion or my right to exist opens a new channel!
I fear the political climate in our country has made us a bunch of exiles. Yet, I personally have control over just my little corner. Many times I have written of the joys discovered under leaves in my garden, or of my grandchildren's brilliance, the marvels of my own kids, husband, dogs; and about allowing my creative intelligence full reign.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be exiled from my world, community, country. Millions of people the world over have this experience.
Azar Nafisi spoke of creating a life in the US. When she returned to Iran everything was changed. The regime redefined her religion, the history of her country, everything she knew and of which she had worked so long and hard.
I am deeply moved. This is a topic which, I am finding as I write this, is very difficult to stick with on a personal level.
Swallowtail Butterflies are fresh and new by the first of April. Larabee is a hidden valley created by the Eel River. Perhaps I have lived here since time began, a butterfly in the willows on the banks of a Northern river.