It’s been a whirlwind seven weeks of art and introspection in this beautiful place removed from my routine, and suddenly, as if it was all just a dream, I’m on the cusp of headed back home.
I’ve been thinking a lot about home & what exactly home is to me. When people here in Mexico ask me where I’m from, I tell them I’m from the bay in California. And when people in the bay ask me where I’m from…I tell them I’m from Florida.
A lot of my journey with art has been like stepping into a time machine into the past, to a younger self, care-free who plays in her imagination with abandon. It’s made me think a lot about where I’m from, the people, the places, the moments that have shaped me into who I am now. The book talks a lot about the artist-child and I’ve taken it to heart, nostalgic for that little girl’s freedom to imagine, create, and love.
Pondering the question of where I’m from, reminded me of an exercise I was introduced to a couple of years ago at a spiritual art retreat I was invited to by my Aunt & Uncle who were flying out to California, leading it. I saw them as the slightly off, black sheep artist types who I always felt “got me” and was glad for the chance to see them. As life would have it, it was the last time I saw my Uncle before he passed away a few weeks later. It was a divine gift to have that special time with them. While I’d never shared this, it was a big part of what pushed me to continue to pursue art in a big way in my life. That we only have this one life to do the things we love. At one point during the retreat participants were all invited to write our own version of George Ella Lyon’s poem, Where I’m From. I sat with the prompt unable to write much, judging every word I put on the page. But revisiting it this summer, I’ve let a lot of the criticism go and finally got around to answering the question. And what about you, where are you from?
Where I’m From –
I am from where the Spanish moss grows
And the alligators sunbathe
on the lake behind my house.
I am from lightening and thunderstorms
and crickets and frogs
whose symphony soothes me to sleep.
I am from lemon icebox pie on hot humid days.
From a chorus of hip hip hoorays
for meals my mom makes.
I am from a tribe of wild children
with unkempt hair and hand-me-downs,
running through the sprinklers.
I am from song and storytellers,
From integrity and brokenness and faith.
I am from love, born into my father’s arms.
I am from something more ancient.
From a tough love and a thin skin.