Last post, I wrote about my journal organizing project. I’m gleaning through a journal I wrote in January 2014.
I lived at Bridge Meadows in Portland, Oregon, from 2012 til 2017, an intergenerational community designed to support families adopting children out of the foster care system, and to provide people 55 and over with affordable housing. It was designed to provide a sense of place and purpose in life.
It made it easy for me to be a mentor for children and also participate in classes and events that I wouldn’t have transportation or energy to get to otherwise.
One thing I did was participate in writing workshops. The Joy of Writing was run by a patient and wonderful poet in her 90s.
This was written at the workshop on February 6, 2014. I found it while organizing my journals:
Prompt: A Twilight Memory
Twilight. Moonlight. Delight. Dream light. Dream right.
I love to go down to the river at sunset and watch the harsh sun soften and melt into layers of pink and gold and turquoise. The light blue sky darkens to indigo as the sun dips lower and lower behind the horizon. The water reflects all the color and then, as twilight comes, it darkens, too, rippling like a pool of indigo ink.
I was born in a river town — Memphis on the Mississippi. If I went too long without visiting the river, I would feel a strange sense of longing that could only be soothed by sitting on the bluff watching the river flow. As a girl, and young woman, I couldn’t always stay past sunset. Even sunset was a dangerous time for a female alone.
All the creatures of myth and story — man-eating gar, river rats the size of hound dogs; the giant catfish would come to the surface and breathe misfortune upon you, emerged in those moments when the sun was sinking low. Ghosts of men who drowned — the murdered disposed of in the deep dark water — they got their chance to wander at twilight.
But really, I would have been thrilled to be chosen by a ghost or colossal bullfrog. It was the living that I really had to fear. My brown mystic river bordered a city where many were desperate, wicked and mean. It was not a safe place for anyone.
One of the true pleasures of my life was when I was dating an agreeable man and we went down to watch the sunset together. I felt safer. My date probably felt that two of us made a less obvious target.
The sun set. Twilight arose. A million stars and a thousand fireflies lit up around us.
While reading this, it reminded me of another journal piece from 2012 when I felt torn between my two hometowns. Memphis eventually won out, but the rivers of Portland still flow through my heart.
We are all composed of rivers and longing, even those in land locked areas, feel the river of life flowing through their veins.
What do you think?
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