Learning the Language

Halfway between the kitchen and hallway of Spanish AirBnB #2/#4 (we had to make a hasty getaway from smelly AirBnB #3), Zoriah, my Spanish mother, has set up an ironing board so I can smooth this week’s work outfits after their long stay in my suitcase. She fixes dinner while I iron and we talk about the ironing board—where she got it, how long she’s had it, etc. I spend a full 10 minutes ironing my first blouse because the conversation takes up so much of my brainpower. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Spirit of a Place

We speak of genius when we speak of leadership, hoping for some of that elusive genius in ourselves, but the word genius in its Latin originality means simply, the spirit of a place…the genius of an individual lies in the inhabitation of their peculiar and particular spirit in conversation with the world. Genius is something that is itself and no other thing.”

–David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea

I’m writing today, as I often do, from one of my favorite places in the world—a little café tucked off the main thoroughfare of this college town and nestled on a hilltop in the woods. And I’m wondering, how does one say goodbye to a place?

I first came to this little café in the woods when I was still in high school a few towns over. Some friends of mine were playing bluegrass on the little wooden deck, which turns into a stage in the summer evenings. I twirled under the twinkle lights on the lower patio overlooking wooded trails below and felt so much hope for the world that a place like this existed. When I went to college here in Chapel Hill, I spent many afternoons, which would have otherwise been very lonely, crouched over the small metal tables that were just big enough for my poetry homework and a coffee cup and saucer. But it was after I left this town for New York and came back that the café really took up a place of Home in my heart. Maybe in those earlier years it was this future that called me to it.

I joke that I moved back to Chapel Hill because of this café, but it’s not really a joke.

Continue reading