Saturday, May 05, 2012


I am thinking about return. Re-turn. Turn again. Go back. Leave and come back. To have left and returned. Out and back. There and back again. A hobbit's tale.

I. Books

I forgot about the dvds. Two of them. "An Education" and "Mrs. Hotschkisses ballroom and charm school". Yeah. About that.

At least it was watched with friends.

They hid with the other dvds that I do own. I forgot until Schlow Library sent me a notice. Overdue. A steep fine.

I've been avoiding the library since.

II. Jess

It was the last Essence of Joy concert of the season. The alumni were back and joined the regular choir in singing some classic Essence favorites. Afterwards, I ran into several alum. I found Kyle Garcia who in his usual delightful self effusively hugged and kissed me and we offerred joyful anecdotes on our lives the past semester. And then I saw Jess. I saw her first across the room as I talked to her boyfriend and we made eye contact and waved. When I finally made my way over to her, she hugged me and said how strange it was to be back. We talked a little of what fills our days. She said how she walked by her old apartment. How things are still the same.

"It's just strange coming back. I don't know how else to describe it."

III. Websters

Websters finally opened. Almost two years of waiting. And it returned.

I was tired and hungry and it was Monday and bright. But I dragged myself out of bed in time to go visit the new location on my way to tutoring. Golden Eros Chai. A Sceric (sp?) blend. Seth was there and we settled at a large table near the small windows that let in the daylight from the street. We exchanged the books we had on us: Rilke and French book in German. Someone at another table struck up a conversation about how good it was that Websters had reopened along with some snide remarks about feminism. Seth smiled his quiet smile, the one where you have no idea what he's actually thinking, but could be interpreted as agreement. I shifted the mug in my hand and noted that engraved on the side was a phoenix coming out of a book. Ah yes. Websters was back.

IV. Shingletown Gap

The trails around Shingletown are more and more familiar to me these days. I took the path across the footbridge to the right of the trail head and tried to piece together a recognizable path along a muddy creek bank. The trail blazes kept leading up the hill, so I followed them. The trail changed several times and went through an open area where there wasn't much underbrush or even trees. It felt familiar. So when I found my way to the top of a smaller ridge, I simply assumed that I recognized pieces from previous walks.

And then I went around a bend in the twisting trail and came into a flat open space. With a large fire ring. And a log beside it for sitting. And a strung up lean-to out of branches. It may have been four years at this point, but I knew where I was. This was the spot we had come in my first hike here, the one where I was the only girl and was unhappily stuck in the back seat of a small car and Greg Ford got us lost on the trail going up and we climbed down the rocky part in the dark. The time when they went out of their way to make me feel awkward and Mooney wasn't a good friend yet and Ben... well. We all remember what Ben did when we got back to the car. It was the night that I think of when someone asks for funny stories from college. I can't help but laugh when I imagine each of those people in their various jobs today: in Alaska counting fish for the government; a campus minister and neighbor; an engineer in DC; a masters student in Turkey; the still to graduate friend across campus.

I watched the empty space for a while. Further down the trail, I sat down and prayed for the guys who had been with me that night. In the oft repeated words around me, "Good times. Good times."

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