Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Going, all along


In just a few hours, we'll be heading east, home. For as long as I live, I suppose I'll call Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shoreline "home," even though it hasn't been since 1966, which is, by anyone's math, quite a long time.

The habit persists as habit alone, too. I feel no particular homing instinct anymore, either on the drive back or during the few days I'll be there. We'll buy some cheese and sausage, and, undoubtedly, I'll visit the lakeshore at one spot or another, see family, visit Mom, and relive some good memories; but, come Saturday, I won't weep when I watch Sheboygan County disappear in my rearview.

For years, I dreamed of living there, of selling some wonderful novel that made enough money to let me move back to some small place at the lakeshore. For years, I saw myself in a room of windows, seated at a spacious study desk, writing yet another wonderful novel. Home was a vision, a kind of mission statement for a goodly chunk of my early adult years. Someday, I'd move back to Wisconsin, set up shop somewhere close to the lake, and write novels. I'd would teach no more. "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach"--that one. I would be, yes, a writer.

This morning's e-mail includes a final, late essay from a kid whose grades I've already filed for the semester. I'm still very much a teacher, and I still live here, in the far reaches of the northwest corner of Iowa, a day's travel from any body of water you can't see over.

But the meat market here makes fair-to-middlin' brats, and you can buy Wisconsin cheese almost anywhere. I don't miss the cloudiness either. Big lakes spawn clouds; out here on the edge of the Plains, the face of the sun is a great blessing, far more constant--and I like that. There's open spaces here, too, more of them, lots of them.

Really, this is home. It's just a habit I have, calling the other what it is no more.

Still, I'm looking forward to going. Mom is there, after all.

And it's a good thing to dream. Who knows?--maybe someday I'll still sit behind that spacious desk and look east over the lakeshore. Who knows?

Meanwhile, this desk isn't bad, and it's warm down here in the basement. And I'm typing along just like I always dreamed, even if it's only a blog. I never once dreamed of writing a blog.

Who knows?

I could end this riff with a hymn, I guess--"this world is not my home, I'm just apassin' through. . ." But I've always had trouble with that theology: the lakeshore is just too beautiful and so is the prairie. Honestly, this basement isn't a bad place either, even though it needs a good cleaning; and we just had a wonderful Christmas. "This world" is nothing to shake a stick at. God made it, and he loves it. It's his creation. It's what he fashioned. I'm not interested in leaving right now. I've still got to get a few good pictures--and, who knows, maybe it's time to take another shot at that novel.

I'm home. Time is but the stream I go a'fishing in. Instead of getting to heaven at last, I'm going, all along.

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