My people come from central Illinois where you can see 3 or 4 or 5 miles out when you’re watching the sunset. And all you see is corn or beans and tree lines out where you’re watching. Late winter was one of my favorite times to watch the sun set back home. There the fields were plowed under and the dark, rich ground dirt showing row after row after row of what was not yet. And the horizon was from north to south colors of blue going down to grey and gently fading into night.
I live now in the forest of Atlanta, in the town of Decatur, in the village of Oakhurst. Here my people are from all over the country and beyond. Some have grown up here, never leaving. Others have come here to go to school (like me) or for a job or a relationship and have decided to stay. Setting down roots are different in the city. The roots are not so much of place, but of people. And as time passes we all change and many of the roots take hold and grow deeper and deeper.
Time is different here than there. Rush hours rob me of the sunsets that used to help me know what time of day and time of year it was. Instead each night as I’m making my way home, I’ll drive miles out of my way (3 or 4 or 5 miles) to not have to wait at an impossible stoplight. Waiting in a line of cars fences me in ~ in ways that fences never could. It’s where I’m from, I guess. Instead of tree lines, there are story lines that hold me in place and bring me my bearings.
These winter-coming-into-spring-nights make me miss those Illinois sunsets. Those colors filling the sky. Watching my breath in that cold air. I will always carry that place inside me, never losing sight of the rows and tree lines. What was, what is and what will be ~ places, people, story.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.