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Oakland bound – Three hours from Oakland and the landscape is so familiar it feels like an old pair of shoes – familiar, comfortable and with the novelty of not having been worn since we left. We have ten weeks to make a lot of things happen to prepare for three years in Central America. It’s a long list that we’ll do one at a time like an assembly factory that creates order quickly and efficiently. In this way Brad and I are well matched. I have ideas somewhere up there in the stratosphere and he grounds them. And then we meet somewhere in the middle, a little bit above the horizon from a bird’s eye perspective.
We pass the geometrically aligned pistachio fields that will turn into the garlic fields and the tomato fields and the apricot trees and then into suburb, concrete and city, straight into Oakland. Some of the trees are newly planted and the green is winding up the wooden posts that will serve as their backbone until they are grown enough to have their own base to nourish them. This is the nature order of things, birth, discovery, growth, transition, passage and birth again.
Guatemala taught me focus, the US taught me how to create a process, and the journeys in between taught me introspection as a form of nourishment and strength. “You write so much!” Robert’s wife, Nancy, told me while she was reading some of my posts including the one on Mark Francis. “I think a lot about things,” I tell her, when in fact my head is crowded and I use the writing to give things a narrative and some illusion of order. I will keep writing, I promise to myself, everyday while we’re here and when we’re back. It’s a promise I’ve made to myself before, but this time I intend to keep it because I’ve realized how quickly I can connect to a community of people who have lived with two cultures, two countries and this constant bifurcation in their lives. It’s time to listen more by writing.
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