03 April 2017


I went to a book reading last night with Emily Ruschvich, a Idaho native and rural life enthusiast. She said she's always lived in small places and with that also loves rural literature. The moderator asked why she loved rural literature so much? She said "it shows the essence of us - rural life shows our humanness in our most quiet moments." I loved that. I fell in love with her passion and connection to the land here. I envy that connect to a place. She reminded me of the richness and depth of exploration that comes from the slow quiet of rural life.

I remember that silence.

It reminded me of those long hot afternoons living in that big house on the hill in Southern Malawi. The view from the front porch looking over the red valley below and the electric red/fuschia sunsets during burn season. The days with no work and no power. How they felt so long at first and then slowly over time turned into sweet delights. It was time and space to explore and create, a new fruit to experiment baking with or new supplies found on a trip into the city to make into jewelry.

One time, on a trip to the "big" city I found rope at the paper store and learned how to dye the cotton with found spices at indian stores and then wove it into a big necklace on one of those afternoons, just sitting on the front steps looking out at the guava trees and the clay lands while the boys (I lived with a family with two boys - Promise, 7 years old and Osborne, 5 years old they became my local guides, shadows, friends and food tasters.) played soccer with a ball made out of burnt plastic bags. Another afternoon I noticed the guava trees, so heavy and ripe with fruits and with a whole afternoon infront of us I decided we were going to make a guava crisp. I explained the mission to the boys, they had NO clue what a crisp was but with the brief mention of sugar (a rare treat) they were off leaping at the trees to help collect guavas. Within minutes Promise and Osborne were back with enough guavas for 10 crisps! As I gathered the ingredients and they worked on eating the leftover guavas. I went to the cookhouse to start the fire but  realized I forgot a towel to grab the pan and headed back to the house. As I rounded to the front of the house I had a strange feeling - something was different. I slowed down and looked around and before I knew it Promised and Osborne were sneaking up behind me whispering "Arish, baboooooon baboooooon" and there in the small grove of guave trees was at least 15 baboons in the trees scooping the fruit off the branches and into their mouths.  The world felt silent and full and magical for a moment - then Promise being 7 couldn't help himself and was worried they wouldn't leave any fruit so started running towards the trees and in a flash they were all gone - like it never happened.

It's been hard to sink into the silence of HERE. I ached for silence in Somerville but now that I am in a place of wide spaces and deep silence I am realizing how much in 3 years I acclimated to my home there.

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