I am from worn rugs and tatty upholstery, fuzzy with fur left by slumbering cats, and from settled stacks of unopened envelopes in a reed basket in the front hall. I'm from old leather bookbindings, a soft wool throw over a tapestried hassock, and a tall narrow writing desk containing bits and nubbins of my life.
I am from flint and sawdust that rises in the air around my grandfather, sparks flying into his snowy hair from the grinder on his bench as he sharpens a steel, and from the workingman’s grease that scents the shop and stains the brim of his cap.
I am from jonquils and iris that bloom in the garden without any encouragement at all, year after year, for all the seasons of my life.
I’m from orange blossom honeycombs and scrabbling blue crabs, and the hour at the end of the day that flies on a carpet of reds and golds over the horizon.
I’m from waves rhythmically pacing sleep in the hot and the damp of the night, and from a north running river that laps cool and gentle over me, silencing the jangle in my head.
I’m from palms fronds clacking in a breeze, carrying a light scent of salty decay across my desk, and blending into the heat of the next room where there is a soft bubbly simmer of tomato and herbs on the stove.
I am from prudence and parsimony, pennywise and pound foolish, and waste not, want not. A child of depression era forbearers who lent me their keen eye for quality and a bartering tongue. I come from compromise and concession although, at times, I confess to leaning into diversity and distinction to gain clarity and make a punctuation mark in my mind. Full stop.
I am from live and learn and The School of Hard Knocks, where one had best rush the door when opportunity arrives, lest it knock lightly then quickly move on to benefit another. After all, it’s the early bird that catches the worm. If you want it, earn it. No time like the present.
I am from The Rock of Ages and How Great Thou Art. I am from little white gloves and laced Sunday socks, and from spoils of the hunt that sag the holiday table beside high piled offerings from the hands of the gathered Saxons and Celts. Straps of venison, braised wild rabbit, and gun pelted turkey. Peace and grace are offered before the sacrifices on the table are devoured and every plate cleaned. Every plate. It’s required where I'm from.
There is a painting on the wall taken from an old photograph from my mother’s childhood. On a low flat hill stands a long house, capped with a rusting tin roof. Flowers in iron girded whiskey barrels guard the steps and vines hold up the porch.
There is a photograph taken on a sunny day over the river, sails up, a single mast heading downwind and in another there is a family, ten strong, standing together on a windy beach, leaning in toward one another, squinting into the sun.
Cut in the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, mix together well and roll out, shape, bake, and enjoy. That’s where I’m from.