As another year draws to a close, magnificent ruins are piled around us.
I think of Greenwood without my grandmother—after a hundred years of her presence within the same 100 or so square miles. I’m not really sure how many square miles it is. Just that it seems very little, for a life—for someone like me, who has moved over and over again.
I think about all the things she did and did not do, as far as I know. About the stories that people are telling about her. Somehow I feel that she has settled in my mind, that she is waiting for me to tell her story.
Adam’s dad, who (to me) is an occasional sound like a landslide in the background. Who seems like a legacy of eradicable influences.
Another ruin--the dream of freedom we were having. A particular kind of freedom we’d grown used to, freedom with daily struggle.
I don’t know exactly what we have replaced that dream with. Now that I’ve been from one end of this island to the other, it feels very small. A small space in which to live a life. We look out at the horizon. Make lists of islands. Tortola, St. John, Jost Van Dyke. St. Croix. Vieques. Culebra. And just beyond that—you can see the mountains of Puerto Rico. The rain forest. Lists of what is within reach.
I’m sitting in my office with a stack of papers I’ve graded heartlessly.
I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking of the students and how they could have done better. And how I could have done better.