Where is home? Is it the place you were born? the place you raised your own family? For me, it’s more internal. Home is where I’m most me — I realize that can be a mixed blessing 🙂
So, where I am going with this…. I’m in Gettysburg for 2 months and I’m home. I am at my best here — my writing is usually sharper, my thoughts clearer and my plans more crystal. It’s not misty sentimentalism — some spiritual connection to past myth… it’s not the ‘oh, I touched a stone and its essence moved me,’ and I’m sure that’s how it works for some. For me, I touch that same rock — and I know that 200 years ago a Lenape Indian sat on that stone to watch game, that kids frolicked there as the town was settled, soldiers rested and mourned their backs and head’s resting against its unforgiving surface. I know too that my kids run and jump against it, kids by the hundreds. It’s not a static mythic past I see; it’s life translated into memory.
That’s why I think the reunion research has such resonance for me. These old soldiers didn’t just “fade away,” they raged “against the coming of the night.” They lived through a cataclysm and conquered it — and they passed that vigour, that passion, that exuberance on to another generation!
I’ve been on the battlefield lately with people who are incredible photographers — and watching them capture the landscape changing minute to minute to minute just illustrates (
no pun intended) the vibrance, the “aliveness” of the moment. If I can breathe life into the story of how 2 generations met here during a warm summer 70 years ago with even half as much soul as these folks do — wow!!
Music that just quivers you (OK, with the era): Woody Guthrie (you can’t listen to “tom joad’s blues’ without hearing the Dust Storms whirl about you!), Billie Holiday (contrast ‘you’d be so easy to love,’ with ‘strange fruit’ — her voice travels over your skin on both, but with one it hurts and you want to cry as if you’ve scraped a place raw — soo powerful), and the peppy, “keep your chin up” songs of the War Years.
“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” –> Ray Bradbury