the point

Lughnasa                                               Monsoon Moon

Got to the point of the trip yesterday. At a rainy 10 am in St. Paul, on Summit Avenue across from Macalester. About 30 people gathered to celebrate Groveland’s acceptance as a covenanting community by the Unitarian-Universalist Association. Old friends Martha Anderson, Ceile Hartlieb, Larry Herbison, and Lois Hamilton were there.

The presentation I wrote out below got delivered extemporaneously, so a somewhat different version without the long Emerson quote. The other night at Jazz Central I told David Fortney about going around taking photographs of my various homes in the Twin Cities area. “Closure?” he asked. Made me go, huh? Then, by god, he’s right.

The Groveland moment was about closure, too. I was there, I was a part of that community. Just as I was part of the Stevens Square community, the Loring Park community, and, in a real and active sense, a part of the Twin Cities metro community. But, no longer. Now 900 miles separates me from these places I loved, cared about, in which, to paraphrase a theological idea, I moved and lived and had my being.

It’s different, being back here this time. I’m from away, this is my former home. This time I’m here as a guest, a welcomed guest, one filled with memories of people and moments, but no longer native to this place.

Often when I travel, at least in the past, I would go through a, I could live here phase, while in a new place. Strangely, I don’t feel that way about Minnesota any more. I have lived here. Minnesota is the past now in the same way Indiana is the past. No longer where I am, yet filled with the irreplaceable. No longer where I want to be.

The West and the mountains have me. I’ve changed regional allegiances; not casting aside the Midwest, but finding myself now part of something else. The change is invigorating, life affirming. Then, so is being back here temporarily, confirming memories, revisiting friends, seeing achievements.

I expect the air to be dry, elevations much higher, the buildings younger, the past filled with iconic stories about pioneers and ranchers and miners, cowboys and indians. Mountains now dominate my daily experience, not grain elevators and deciduous trees.


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