I was born in a bookstore. An intimate bookstore. All raw wood and paper and that smell you get when books are allowed to co-habitate and age together. The new, important, crisp Gore Vidals and Stephen Kings, the venerable professors Twain and Dickens and Woolf. The mad uncle Hemingway. The brooding cousin Poe. The taboo aroma of the pulps: McBain and the Destroyer, Conan the Barbarian and Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was warm and inviting and time slowed and bent, and I was born alongside a million universes, stories and worlds.
I was born in my grandfather’s backyard. He brought in dark soil to enrich his vegetable garden. After spreading, but before seeding, he had me kneel with him in the dirt. “Get your hands in there, Buzzard. Break up a few of the clods and put a piece of yourself into the earth.” So saying, we plunged in, wrist deep and let the dirt flow through our fingers. Working the soil, giving thanks and requesting fat tomatoes and squash. The aroma from the broken soil was a promise of life, of food.
My hands … are still dirty.
I was born in the shade of a large oak, among the roots. Regal, masterful and knowing. Everyone praises the tree for its garments: green and then red and yellow … gay and beautiful and heart lifting. Underneath its clothes, though … that’s where it happens. In the gnarled roots and rough bark. The hands of the roots plunged deep into the earth, feeding and nurturing and creating fruit. The time traveling tree, having shaded your grandfather and his grandfather … has been told secrets and has witnessed history, yet stoically remains quiet, maintaining foundation and changing clothes every now and then.
I was born at the taste of cinnamon apples on a girl’s lips.
I was born again when I looked into Her eyes and saw deep, mahogany history.
My life is stories and dirty hands.
I am surrounded by love, warm and nurturing … books, earth, and roots.