I have considered this letter for some time, as it will be my last for the foreseeable future. Instead of assaulting your patient eyes with the madness of my prose, I will instead take this time to be grateful (and keep the flowery descriptions of clouds and water plants for a later unknown publication, and give my thesaurus a break.)
Next month I will be renting a van and loading my small collection of books and my desktop computer and too-many clothes for a grand land voyage back to the golden state. I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco–or Sacramento for that matter, where I’ll be returning–but the time has come for me to return to my boxy fourth floor apartment, the westward sea expanse, and everything I knew before I came. But with the addition of a year’s age of knowledge from a Minnesotan adventure.
A year, a year! My hair has grown at least five inches–the longest in years–a true feat for someone who could never seem to leave well enough alone, and only ever made a bad haircut worse with another. Somewhere in this hair is the memory of the person I was when I arrived; the strands detail the withdrawals and detox from the urban, apathetic, disillusionment in which I was grasped. I have more long white hairs now, but the ruddy iron and lake water turns it all to a freedom of curls. Oh, how I’ll miss this all.
Thank you, Fuji Sushi Restaurant, for being the first food establishment that made me feel like I could actually remain here. Thank you to my editor, Britta Arendt, and to Kassandra Tuten – two incredible women producing thoughtfully executed news nonstop! (I was a newspaper designer–not a writer–before I moved to Minnesota, and without the Grand Rapids Herald-Review giving me a shot to explore and interact with the community and write articles, well, I most certainly would have lost my marbles somewhere back in a December snowdrift.) Thank you to all the kind people at Itasca Community College: Bart Johnson, Susan Lynch, Nick Rothstein, Marlo Gangi, to name a few. Taking classes at ICC this past spring semester was a grounding and stimulating experience. Thank you, 90.9 FM, for the steadfast monotone weather reports and the high ratio of classical music bangers to overly bombastic anthem recordings (More Mussorgsky? Definitively, yes. More marching tunes, Star Wars theme music or brassy dirges? No, thank you kindly.) Thank you to the duotones of winter and summer: in winter, stark white and black severity and contrast. In summer: the greenest greens and hues of blues with dappled cotton candy clouds. Thank you to this rural landscape for the lessons in color, in natural cycles, in death and dying, in rebirth, in spirituality, causality, humanity, inertia, intention, entropy, art, and love.
Finally, thank you to Troy, my partner, my boyfriend, the human being that captivates and excites physical and metaphysical parts of my being; who engages me in philosophical tussles and nurturing domesticity; the person with whom I have spent more time with in a single year in an unknown land than even members of my own family - and hopefully more places to come. Thank you for everything you’ve done to keep me comfortable and content; the anime and ATV rides, the coffee and sunsets, the wildflowers and road trips, ice fishing, snorkel fishing, hanging my hammock, and putting your arm around me in timeless diners; thank you for taking care of, and showing me, so much. Thank you to the Starrs and Dustrudes, and the circle of community and friends that ripple outward from their core. Thank you Suzanne and Mark, thank you for the encompassing, boundless kindness you have given and shown me; for opening your homes and your lives to me.
I am forever grateful for the adventure of life.
Infinity of affinity,