#18 winter solstice 2015

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I pour my self a cup of tea after my last dog walk of the night. I have been skirting the neighborhood my father lived in for 40 years. It is the part of town I associate with being a teenager and the shift to adulthood. The feel of the street is embedded in the arches of my feet, but the particulars of stores,  restaurants, and buildings are being revised. I am forging new experiences, drinking up different views and setting my compass at a different base with each recent visit. The dreams of what I think of as home can stay intact while I amend my sense of home with each changing day.

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"My recollections had a kind of intensity which betrayed the way that imagination and memory had fused, which is what happens, with our earliest memories-particularly when they concern places and people we can't revisit, times and realms left behind. My family left Tennessee, one of the many places we would leave, when I had just turned seven years old, and so everything about that life remained for me sealed away, as if in a sphere of its own, a set of memories and impressions unrevised by experience, uncorrected by time.

Unrevised? Well, in a way. Ask someone who's lived in the same house all of his [or her] life what that house is like, and you'll get the adult's perspective, the point of view of now. But when you've left a house years ago, it only changes in your memory, and those changes are different-subtler, dreamier, [...] Memory erases the rooms which didn't matter; locations of feeling become intensified, larger. The dream of the past becomes a deeper dream."

Mark Doty, from "Return to Sender: Memory, Betrayal, and Memoir," The Writer's Chronicle (vol. 38, no. 2, October/November 2005)

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