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One

January 1, 2009

“The old Cheyennes, even more than their High Plains neighbors, had a rich and mystical perception of all life as a continuous, all-encompassing eventual flow, and of man’s complete oneness with all this diffused and eternal stream.  It was a stream of many and complex dimensions, one in which man, the tree, the rock, the cloud, and all the other things were simultaneously in all the places they had ever been…”  (Preface to Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz)

As I spend two weeks in my hometown – a place that is no longer entirely home or just a town – I have spent much time reflecting on the myriad people and places that have had an influence on the direction my life has taken.  I am, whether sitting here at my mom’s computer in Pine Grove Mills or at my own in Lame Deer, “in all the places [I have] ever been.” 

I am in New Jersey, where the surf and the sand still touch my soul.  I am in University Park, PA, where intellectual pursuits still stimulate my mind.  I am in Mexico and Brazil, where foreign languages and flavorful food still tempt my tongue.  I am in South Africa, where sickening poverty tempers my lifestyle, reminding me to live simply. 

I am still at the junior prom, experiencing the excitement of a boyfriend’s kiss.  I am still in the church chapel, eager to share life with a companion.  And I am still in my rented bedroom, reading divorce papers with the heartache of hurt and loss.

I am still, no matter where I am, in a classroom, learning more about myself and my place in this world with each passing day.  With this new year, I will be in more places and become more places, ever changing and ever growing.

Yet part of me will always remain the same no matter where I am or where I go:  the part that is open to new learning and new love, as well as the part that holds dearly to the past, as part of me as the present. 

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