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  • Writer's picturemishcromer

Place and Home

Some of the photos on this site are of my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Harry's farm in South Carolina, a place I visited many times as a child and that I continue to visit in my imagination. It was a place of love and acceptance.

The last time I visited was when my father died, almost exactly a year before the c-19 virus changed everybody's lives so dramatically.

I've been thinking a great deal about how challenging it can be to heal and find the meaning in loss and grief.

As a child I felt the warmth and safety of my grandmother's house; of my aunts and uncles in Carolina, even though I lived thousands of miles away. Those miles were not only literal; everything seemed miles apart, from the way they spoke, to the food they cooked and ate, to the culture they consumed and the politics they espoused. And yet it still felt like home.

The land of my father was red clay and kudzu, heat and humidity, red birds and cicadas and nights so dark, you could trip over your own feet, and think it was a critter trying to take you down.

My land was grey concrete and plane trees, chilly air and damp basements, sparrows and black cabs. Even then light pollution was a thing and my father used to drive us out into the country just so we could see the stars.

When he looked up into the sky and showed me the moon and the north star, told me to wish on Venus and look for the big dipper, he also told me that my grandmother was looking at the same ones.

Years later, after he moved back to the land of red clay and kudzu, and my own children were missing him, feeling the tightening stretch of those thousands of miles, he reminded them that he was looking at the same moon, the same stars that they were looking at, as they stood in their pyjamas, at the window of their bedroom.

He has gone now, but the moon and the stars are there and I hear his voice and the warm pressure of his hand on my shoulder, angling me to look, helping me to see.

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