Monica had a great post today with her “where I’m from” poem based on the George Ella Lyons poem you can read here. I thought it was an intriguing writing exercise, since my standard answer to “Where are you from?” is a little laugh and “Oh, I’m not from anywhere.” Since I’m not technically from anywhere, having grown up in so many places all around the country and around the world, I value who I’m from – memories and traditions and history and genealogy and all that – more highly than I might have if I was from a particular zip code. Then again, I think this exercise just goes to show that what makes you rooted to a place is more about those intangible things than your geography anyway.
To be charitable, let’s agree to call the following “free verse,” shall we?
I am from Bee Balm and Jo-Pye Weed and rhododendron. I am from the boxwood smell of Great Oaks, and I am from M-O-N-T-R-E-A-T-Mammy’s-waiting-for-ya-praying-for-ya-down-by-Lake-Susan.
I am from the smell of cardboard moving boxes seventeen times and still somehow excited when I unpack, like maybe this time things will be perfect.
I am from “just take a Greystone bite” and “pretty is as pretty does” and yes ma’am contests that I can’t believe my cousin Andrew won, because that victory should have been mine.
I am from Hoppin‘ John on New Year’s day and roast beef on Christmas and lamb with mint jelly on Easter. I am from Bouche de Noel that is more chocolate than anyone really needs, plus meringue mushrooms dusted with cocoa because it’s realistic that’s why.
I am from military quarters, the mountain house my grandparents designed themselves, and the row of marble columns in that pasture where my grandfather visited his grandmother before it burned down, and from where his great-grandfather rode out to go sign the declaration for Alabama to secede from the Union. I’m from people who care about remembering that kind of thing.
I am from England and Scotland and Holland but mostly from America for the past few hundred years, according to the DAR paperwork. I’m from thinking and doing, preaching and singing, traveling and looking for home.
I am from wise men and strong women and hoping for grace and praying for sanctification. I am backed up by all these things as I run with perseverance the race marked out for me.