Shore Ride March 21 2011
In childhood, our first impressions of the earth
Must mark us deeply.
I’m on a train today, following the long New England shore
To New York City.
The houses, clapboard cubes in muted colors,
Are houses as they ought to be –
Triangled eaves, little windows, deeply sloping roofs,
Cozy shelters from the ice and snow.
The granite crops out everywhere –
Whether angled or rubbed smooth,
Its hardness evident,
It calls to mind the dour and stubborn
View of life the grownups taught,
The need for discipline, endurance, steady strength
To weather life.
Even now, though spring has come,
The driving snow blots out the view.
I think back to my origins, remembering,
Remembering. I feel my roots here in New England.
I know this light, this soil, these woods.
I’m grateful for the chance to visit once again
To sense my continuity of self,
To know belonging.
For most of my adult life, I’ve thought I didn’t have any roots. But when I came back to New England, I knew that wasn’t true. Now 72, I haven’t lived here for over 50 years. However, each time I visit, I know this place in a way I know no other. It’s part of me. Its light, its ground, its geography, its houses, its rhythm – all permeated me once, and remain still within me, at my deepest level of being. I listen to its cadences in speech and bird song, smell its tangy air, watch how people walk and smile and hold themselves – it’s all a part of me. I’m a child of this place although I’ve lived elsewhere. New England’s in my genes, my chromosomes, my atoms, and perhaps my soul. Being here renews my life force – the power of Home.