I am from Earth. When I see a photo taken of this planet from the moon, or conjure up the whole blue-green planet in my imagination, a voice in my head shouts with overwhelming joy: “Yes! I am here! I am HERE!”
It seems that everywhere I’ve put down feet I have never wanted to leave. Every place makes me ache with some sort of beauty or pain. Yet, I have trouble staying put.
I recognize that having a choice is both a matter of heartbreak and privilege. I believe it is right that my gratitude and guilt conceive responsibility for what is and will be.
The two places that now pang me most could not be more different or more the same. On the one hand, there is the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Warming by an Arctic fire, my nose gets nostalgic for that strange mix of dog urine and rain, tangy human bodies, flowering basswood, and buttery onion drafts of sidewalk cafes. On the other hand, while eating naan on Broadway, my mind’s eye craves pointy black spruce horizon dark under midnight sun and white over sour cranberry-leafed carpets buried by fairy-dust snow reflecting moon in interior Alaska.
Both places bark with dogs and sing with different birds. Some are the same, like redpolls and yellow warblers (listen here: http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/132228 and /125226).
People calling Alaska home make a stand-out choice; the tight density of New Yorkers means high chance of meeting interesting ones. I am lucky with friends. Some are twenty or more years younger or older than I, wearing a rainbow of skins. They are professors, as I have been, poets, wood-carvers and hunters, students, and unemployed. Some live without plumbing, others live with plumbing likely to burst. Each shares the challenge of how to become their unique selves while skillfully loving all others.
On behalf of my home, I stand with the fossil fuel resistance (https://orionmagazine.org/article/a-moral-atmosphere/).
My work with this uniting community (particularly www.nyudivest.com) is complementary to the healing good that others leverage, rippling reciprocal consequences to every place on Earth where life is lived.