New Haven

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Our new cat, Li’l Sebastian, adopted from the New Haven Animal Shelter

I moved to New Haven on July 23rd, 2019.

I’ve lived here just over three weeks now – I think – and it’s been a combination of profound stress, sporadic sadness, and excitement.

I think I decided to write today because, 1. it’s been raining since I woke up, so I canceled my plans to walk to a local restaurant to meet up with a fellow seminarian and, 2. my car was towed this morning due to a misunderstanding about the street cleaning schedule and it put me in just the right mood (read: despair-rage) to be introspective.

I completed my discernment committee meetings in early July – about 15 hours in total, if you count training – and since then, I’ve pretty much been wiped out on the introspection front. I enjoyed the committee sessions immensely and, contrary to everyone’s warnings, didn’t find them overwhelming or triggering. Rather, they were a good opportunity to practice saying what I feel about church, my religious and spiritual journey, my sense of calling, and my hesitations about committing to a life of church ministry. At the time, I felt relief, like what’s been a secret tamped down inside me for so long is something I’m now allowed to express in public.

But then I had to say goodbye to my beloved volunteers and customers at the thrift shop where I worked for five years; fight to hold back tears during my last day singing in my church choir; and spend an ungodly number of hours sorting, packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, sorting out life logistics, and more. It’s left me feeling a bit like a robot rather than a person. I simply haven’t had the emotional energy to think that much about what’s happening, to process the fact that I now live in a completely different state in a completely different region, several hours away from almost everyone I know and love.

It’s ok, though. I’ve been thinking about how I reacted to this move versus how I reacted when we moved from Florida to Virginia. I remember putting on a performative melancholy at the time, and then legitimately struggling with SAD through my first real winter in “the north.” This time around, even though Daniel and I have been in near isolation for almost a month, I have the perspective to keep telling myself: “Your feelings are valid, but they are not permanent.” I’m sad and lonely – and that can make me feel frantic, a bit unhinged – but I know that it’s normal and I know what I need to do to cope.

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We visited friends in Maine during our first weekend in New England

That’s a nice thing about getting older, and the nice thing about having worked with people far outside my peer group for the last several years.  I don’t have to perform introspection or authenticity or melancholy. I can just wait it out.

With our endless free time – both Daniel and I are currently unemployed – we’ve been exploring local restaurants and thrift shops. I found a really good Goodwill in nearby Milford and enjoyed taking a walk to a local market last week. I even walked to church on Sunday – a local Episcopal parish that is mostly lay led – where I heard one of the best sermons of my life and met a few people around my age.

A few photos from around town

 

We live in New Haven proper, and so our neighborhood is very pedestrian-friendly. Now that the weather is cooling down (it was in the 90s the week we moved here), I plan to walk over the seminary and get a feel for how doable my morning commute will be.

Orientation is next week and school starts a few days after that. In the meantime, I’ll be reading some recommended books, continuing to organize our belongings, and playing with our newly adopted cat, Li’l Sebastian.

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August

nature in fogToday at Golden Hour
I stared straight into the Sun
orange like henna in white hair

The cataract of August humidity
across its eye, I turned away quickly
A warning whispered in my ear

“Look and you will die.”
But false hope lies
in careless implication

Look or not,
the astral face of God
will always overpower

Look or not,
you will still
be gone.

Particle

twigsRelics can be
Bones that held
Together, exoskeleton:

A camera initiated
In the summer
of hate

A serving tray bought
In Town – You
visited with
Your daughter

The thermos you drank
Tea in, with ritual
like it was the Body
of Christ, containing
wine, mixed with
Your blood

Relics can be
old CD towers, particle
Board book
Cases – Glassware
Wrapped in newspapers
Dating 1983

Let me press
bone against Living
Palm, fleshiness
will you speak
Again
Will you?
Tell me
Why You Had to
Leave.

Midnight Calls

ch12My body is fragile
Crack me open
at the seam in my
Ribcage, like
a damp wafer – watch
the strawberry blood
cake in exposed air.

How many midnight calls,
and dinnertime
Interruptions
can a heart
take before the valves
wear thin
And the tell tale tingle
moves up my arm?

Doctor’s orders:
I can’t lift
this weight
Give me something lighter.
Second thought:
Don’t give me anything at all.

“Be Brave”

woman at skyline drive outlookDon’t tell me
to Be Brave,
again,
as if courage
is instinct for
half of us and
Learned Behavior
for XX chromosomes
alone. As if
my going
out is not its own
defiant act

And my speaking:
Bold, Direct
is not akin
to wielding
the sword.

Don’t tell me
Courage is:
holding my tongue
and the serving tray
at a 3rd wave
Dinner Party
thrown for strangers with
pasted on grins

I am no one’s
Darling
I am already
Strong

Everyone Who Searches

22670026And everyone who searches
finds – maybe not
the missing button, maybe
an old note, yellowed photo
with a missing corner.

And you realize
what you find is
good enough,
or better

And the cardigan can
do without mending –
its gapping filled
for now with a memory
of summertime,
or last year’s loss
– you never lost at all.

It was hiding under the bed,
stirred awake,
an answer. The question
never mattered.

———

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rilke