The problem with home

I recently went home to DC to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. It had only been a year since my last visit but overall my trips back to DC have grown infrequent in the last few years. For some reason, this visit felt different. Everything FELT different. And everywhere that I turned I not only saw what was in front of me coupled with visions from memory, but visions of what could have been. Visions from my past dreams of what I thought my future would look like overlaid on the reality of that now-future.

My dad and I rode bikes down to the Potomac River and stopped off at a stark wintery sight at Fletcher’s Boathouse. The boarded up rental house. The beached row boats. All useless and waiting to be used. Hibernating but empty. And this metal ball chained to a tree. Everything felt like a metaphor.

Maybe this is what a mid-life crisis looks like for a writer/filmmaker? I’m constantly envisioning lives, characters, scenarios. Everywhere I look is a possible story or scene. As I walked past the Smithsonian castle on the way to the Hirshhorn, I looked down the walkway with all the flowers and vaguely remembered a time I had walked through and sat there and that merged with a dream/thought I had had years ago when I envisioned what my life would be like to live and work in DC. In my younger years, I had done research work down at the Library of Congress and I used to think about what life would be like to live on Capitol Hill and go to the Eastern Market. And suddenly, I was seeing the future that never was, like my own Sliding Doors movie.

I’ve had the benefit of living and visiting in many different places all over the country and abroad and each has a multitude of dream-mes walking around somewhere in the ether, but the emotional impact felt different in the place where I grew up. The sense of loss greater, and I’ve been thinking about what that actually means to me.

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WW: Once

I was brave and stupid once
Fearless because I was fearful

And now

I’m still brave
And I’m probably pretty stupid at times
And I have to admit I still barge into things with as such fearlessness
To hide the terrified girl inside

So maybe not much has changed
I am different but the same
More experienced

But still

Facing the unknown

Execution

The black hood lowered
Over the round sky
Blocking out the light
My eyes strained
At the artificial midnight
My body instinctively knowing
It should be day
Outside
I’d never seen lightning like this
Alien blasts of
Blue-white light
Echoing through the air
And I was surprised to see our world
Still standing in their wake

Ode to Morning

The fog lay a thick band onto the grass, a crowd of people standing shoulder to shoulder. I couldn’t see but over their heads. Red and blue bands arced across the sky. Red where the dawning sun hit the clouds and blue their shadowed underbelly. The golden yolk rose from the ground, trumpeting its rays and painting the world before it priceless. Horses stood still in their fields, cows still lazed on their bellies. Their eyes watched the passing cars whose lights cut through the haze, across the land, a diagonal slice of modernity through quaint pastoral.

No image could do it justice. Words yet fail. It stirs deep inside the aliveness of being.  I forget how much I love to get up with the dawn.  To feel the damp chill against the skin.  To breathe in the morning promise. Alas, I am but a spectator in my glass and metal box, breathing heated air and dreaming.