Monthly Archives: November 2016

(story)time: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

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The year is winding to a close, whether I’m ready for it or not. I was talking to someone the other day at the bookstore about the books I’ve read this year, and she asked me which book was the most important on that list.

I didn’t hesitate in my reply.

If you haven’t read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson yet, I hope that you can find a place for it on your upcoming reading list. I reserved it from the library, and waited for a few weeks until a copy was available. I took my time with this book, reading just a chapter or two a night.

Isabel Wilkerson transforms the bullet point in our American History textbooks on the Great Migration into a complex telling of a movement of people from the southeastern region of the country to the northeast, the midwest, and the west coast, over the course of sixty+ years, by weaving three personal narratives from that era together into this story. Wilkerson doesn’t merely interview three people for this book, she becomes a part of their lives for the better part of a decade in their later years, listening to their stories, reading their letters, talking to their neighbors and children, driving them to doctor’s appointments and church potlucks and funerals. Each person represents a different genesis point in the south, and different times and circumstances for leaving. All of these factors dictate the course of their migration path, and understanding these forces and these paths provides a foundation for understanding so many issues and struggles of today.

I’m not a professional book reviewer, and I’ve struggled to write this post because I feared that I could not do this book justice. All I can do is speak to the way this book spoke to me on so many levels, and encourage you to add it to your reading list.

The measure of a man’s estimate of your strength,” he finally told them, “is the kind of weapons he feels that he must use in order to hold you fast in a prescribed place.”

still here

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I’m still here, floating with my head just above the surface. We’ve entered the season of traveling, so the weekends are full to the brim, spilling over into the work weeks. The photo above was taken at my niece’s first birthday celebration. She’s studying her new plate that E painted for her.

I’ll be back soon, I promise. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We did.

wednesday morning(s) in the garden

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I keep telling her that this is our last garden morning for the season. We expect it to get cold and drizzly and damp, but it doesn’t. So we take them, these gifts, for as long as they are there.

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The holiday lights will be lit this weekend, the installation is wrapping up. It’s been busier on these mornings as the preparations for the season are underway. There are big tree crews on ropes, stringing lights while swinging in the leaves. We skip all the action and the bustle and head to the rear of the garden.

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Berries are everywhere, in every color. I enjoy discovering them, she’s not as interested. She’s happiest when moving about, tiptoeing across rocks and getting as close as possible to the water without actually falling in. Yet.

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Some of these photos are from last Wednesday’s walk, the rest are from yesterday. Last week I was a bleary, blurry mess; this week, maybe a hint better? It’s hard to tell. I feel tired as we move into this next season. There is so much going on, and I feel like there is an added weight and urgency beyond the mundane. This irritates me, this extra layer of hyper-awareness and checklists of action items. My privilege is showing, I’m late to the game.

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I point out our long morning shadows, and I ask her to take a photo with me. She rests her hand in the crook of my arm as I hold the camera up to take the shot. It’s so still, and she’s not moving, just standing there, joined to me for a moment. I’m surprised at how this makes me feel. It sneaks up on me and the spell lasts for several seconds before she remembers how fun her shadow can be.

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The citrus trees in the Linnean house are full of fruit. “Mmmmm,” she says, pointing at the grapefruit. I agree. Grapefruit feels like Christmastime, and the holly and the poinsettias add to this.

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I’ll take another Wednesday gift, if there is one. And if it turns dark and cold and blustery, that’s okay. They’ll come around again, and for that I am grateful.

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