Away from home, we converse with nature. We laugh at what seems a drunken raccoon in the dead of morning; mosquitos clean their legs on our fly swatters as we gulp hot coffee from metal rims. Blinking our eyes awake, we realize the creature is sick.
Longing to go home, we balance freedoms in still-soft palms, swaddle guns like babies, and carry them close to our chests as we march in the bone-splitting cold. Heading straight as the crow, we invite history to circle round.
Circling home, we wander with stories, sit with art. We carry theory on our backs and balance opinions on our heads like books, waiting for an accepting nod. We dance slowly, eager to find the suggested formation, the perfect form, until we learn to break away.
Here, at home, we turn over memories as though they are tangible things, play them like instruments in our minds. Fingertips tapping keys, we create new meaning, reframe reality. It is here, with senses numbed or heightened; it is here, with nature and conflict and art. It is here, where we realize we’ve been all along.
Jen Knox is a writing coach and community engagement director. Her current writing can be found in The Best Small Fictions 2017, Modern Shorts, Chicago Tribune, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Room Magazine, The Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly, and The Saturday Evening Post. She is the author of After the Gazebo (Rain Mountain Press) and a forthcoming collection of fabulist fiction, The Glass City, winner of the 2016 Prize Americana for Prose.