Several months ago, on the back porch of my sister and brother in law’s town home in Philadelphia, I found a really special kind of quiet that doesn’t exist in most city spaces. The low sunlight stamped everything with orange and navy shadows and the wooden panels of the porch hunched inward to fit in between its two adjacent buildings. I was thinking about being twenty three, about feeling healthy and more well than I have been for a lot of my life. I felt especially young and comfortable within myself. And I realized that I was especially interested in the present moment, a place I usually don’t find myself in.
I am sentimental more often than not. For a lot of my life, I have walked backwards, gazing at the past with gratefulness and bewilderment while tripping over the ever-coming present. How can I look where I’m going without forgetting? I’m forgetting all of the time – does that mean it didn’t happen?
I cannot, and of course not. Yes, I am forgetting. I’m forgetting a lot of the goodness and disappointments. And yes, I am remembering, imperfectly and incompletely. Maybe it can’t be articulated, but it’s there, it’s all stored inside of me.
And so I hold onto the moments I can, let go of what I cannot, and I try to stay interested in the present. I’m on the eve of twenty-four, interested in the right now and ready to keep moving forward – always becoming, and making. We are human makers, all of us. You are a creative being whether you believe it or not, building your life. Not necessarily constructing something tangible (or maybe you are!) but making simply for the inherent goodness of making, because you must.
A quote from Mary Oliver, from her essay Building the House:
I hardly used the little house – it became a place to store garden tools, boxes of this or that. Did I write one poem there? Yes, I did, and a few more. But its purpose was never to be a shelter of thought. I built it to build it, stepped out over the threshold, and was gone.
Some visuals, small and significant moments from this past year: