Monday, November 12, 2007

Oak Park, Illinois

I feel like doing my sister's gimmick tonight. Here's my subject line (taken from a Bob Dylan song, which one to be discovered by vous): "She's everything I need in life, but I can't be swayed by that..."

Hello, everyone. Long time no see. I'm feeling a little guilty about a long absence, but we've also been on the road A LOT. I spent a week with my brother in Somerville, Massachusetts, while Karl slaved in the icy cold cranberry bogs of Carver for a week and a half. Then we spent another weeks (including Halloween!) with Karl's nephews, and hopped a 24-hour Amtrak to Chicago to spend some time with my niece and sister.

We just spent a fantastic evening playing "Settlers of Cataan" with my sister and her husband. Settlers of Cataan is the best board game of all time. And I know I'm a dork for saying that, but I love board games. I've also played a lot of cribbage with Karl's mom, and taught my brother and his roommates how to play Bahamian dominoes. It may sound like nothing, but it's amazing how much we need this focused time with the people we love. I feel like I'm a plant getting rain.

The travel doesn't end here, either--we take a train back to Boston, another train to Middleboro, and a truck back to Marion for Thanksgiving, and we still have a trip to Maine to arrange. It's difficult to catch my breath. Or, more aptly, it's difficult to keep my breath caught and at the same time pay the focused attention to my family that I want to. The stress of not being with Secret is wearing on us, too. Tropical Storm Noel gave me a lot of nightmares.

Emotionally, it's weird to be wandering my old stamping grounds. I visited Oak Park for the first time probably ten years ago. It's the first place I had my own apartment, it's the first place I really felt like my own person. I've criss-crossed these roads over the last decade, with different people, in different years. It's the closest thing I've had to a home.

I feel bad for not chronicling my gut reactions to our return to this country. I guess I did to some degree. But all sorts of things have been floating around my head lately. I'm reading this amazing book entitled The Spell of the Sensuous, written by a sleight-of-hand magician who won a Fulbright to study traditional magic in Bali and Tibet. He was a philosopher, and he tries to figure out, philosophically, what's caused the modern disconnect with the physical world. It's really brought my time here into perspective. Why are we so separated animals and the birds and the plants and the earth in this country? Why am I so much more connected to all that on the boat? What caused that?

Somebody's gotta to tell the tale. I guess it must be up to me.

7 comments:

kolinko said...

Melissa, Are you still in Chicagoland? It'd be great to see you if you have the time. I'm living in Lombard, IL.

ronettelynae@gmail.com

Roni

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your visit home. Happy Thanksgiving!
Plan B

Anonymous said...

The song by Bob Dylan is 'Up to Me'

Anonymous said...

The answer to your question is Kant.

Melissa said...

Hey Roni and Plan B! Glad to see you discovered the blog, Roni--unfortunately I'm no longer in Chicagoland.... It wasn't nearly as long of a visit as I had hoped.

I'm also extremely curious about this: the answer to which question is Kant??

M.

kolinko said...

Hey Melissa,

I'm not "anonymous" sorry.

Bummer that you're not in the area, but I also went on vacation in Florida for the past week and probably wouldn't have been around anyway. :(

I've been reading your blog for a while now. While I'm silent most of the time, it's nice to read about your life.

blessings to you and Karl!
Roni

Melissa said...

Roni,
Yeah, we wouldn't have overlapped. It's a bummer. I never get to visit all the people in Chicago that I want to. Glad you're reading the site, though. You'll just have to come down to the Bahamas for a vacation!

M.