This is the gist of the challenge...
Where Are You From?
"If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going." Wendell Berry, among others, has voiced this idea that we need to understand our roots to know our place in the world. A poem by George Ella Lyons is called "Where I'm From." I first heard it read by Appalachian poet Rita Quillen. Six months later, we used it as a writing assignment in a class taught by my friend Elizabeth Hunter at the Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. The poem lends itself to imitation and makes a wonderful exercise of exploration in belonging.
I'd like to suggest that you give it a try. The prompts have a way of drawing out memories of the smells of attics and bottom-drawer keepsakes; the faces of long-departed kin, the sound of their voices you still hold some deep place in memory. You'll be surprised that, when you're done, you will have said things about the sources of your unique you-ness that you'd never considered before. What's more, you will have created something of yourself to share--with your children, spouse, siblings--that will be very unique, very personal and a very special gift.
On a board I'm on, (waves to Tara), they brought up this challenge and I was quite intrigued. Several of the gals did it and it was so lovely and so rich, I just had to try. It was tough at first, but once you get going, it just flows out of your mind! Don't let the template get you. Honestly sit down and give this a go. You'll be so glad you did!
Here's mine for anyone interested in "Where I'm From"!
I am from puppy tongue kisses, sister giggles and mommy hugs; from Coca Cola bottles in returnable cartons and sticky watermelon fingers in the garden.
I am from the red clay Virginia mud that still runs through my soul like sock bottom stains of summer, daisies growing freely and innocently along country roads like favorite friends waiting to greet you; from the strawberries growing for fat little hands to pick and pinafores to wear their sweet red nectar.
I am from family vacations arrived from a sleeping palatte in the "way back" while beautiful mother and cherished father worked travel magic only mommies and daddies can make. From Bristow, Gasque, Sandidge and Beatty, heavy on the Nellie and Jeanne.
I am from faith and questioning, from the love of the world that blooms all around, from browns and golds, green and blues, reds and yellows, the colors of His world running through my veins and out my mouth in songs of praise.
From horse drawn carriages to unknown homesteads, from trains and wars and progress, perseverance, from fresh baked bread and coal stockings and brothers stolen socks offered as special gifts at Christmas in difficult times.
I am from generations of believers in His word, His love, His gifts. The beautiful of His world and all it's wonders. The song of the mockingbird, the call of the goose, the newborn fawn and the smell of wildflowers perfect because of their ethereal birth.
I am from England, Wales, Ireland and France; from Huguenot shores and the Colonial Piedmont; from mouth watering stuffing balls at Thanksgiving and Japanese Fruit Pie at Christmas.
From the Fourth of July neighborhood parade with an amazingly talented mother at the helm, leading children on red tricycles with miniature flags, babies in wagons banging pots with wooden spoons and red faced teenagers wishing they weren't both embarrassed and yet in awe of that woman, so free in her spirit; from sisters holding hands in the night to ward off the Boogy-man and music that always seemed to fly on fairy wings, magical, melodious and marvelous from mother's hands. From Daddy's who were stern, strong and soft; who gave you wings to fly, ideas to ponder and faith enough in ourselves to reach for the stars.
I am from old family Bibles, faded tin-plates, from drawers and walls and shelves; from piano tops, worn out wallets and dimming memories of smiles and laughter made bright once more with twice told (or thrice-told) stories from lonely living rooms and long distance phone calls; from cherished letters found in dresser drawers and pretty stationary boxes and in books passed along. From hearts filled with a love that never lets go and a joy with a grip oh so tight. I am from all that was and is and always will be good, kind, generous and joyfilled; beautiful, colorful, songlike and magical.
I am from Pure Love, Unimaginable Love. I am from His Love.