Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thoughts on a wintry night

This city... I have great love for this city.

I remember one of the first thoughts that I had, upon arriving here. It was a stroke of uncharacteristic humility amidst the self-promoting, slyly arrogant chatter of Camp Yale: This is going to be home for the next four years.

I had, of course, no idea of how right I would be. For the next four years - and then another one and a half, and counting - this city has been my birthplace. Every year, every semester - even monthly, weekly - I've been renewed, reborn, found myself weaker and more capable than I'd dreamt (in nightmare or ecstatic reverie).

Now I'm taking steps - concrete steps - toward finally bidding farewell to New Haven.

That name, so fitting: a new haven. New - budding, bidding me forward. It's been a cold wind on my face as I bustle down the sidewalk, invigorating my strides. A warm breeze on my back - Oh, I'll see it at least once more! - lying out, out in the sun, conversing with people who are long since departed from here.

Haven - a place of rest and peace. I have fallen ill here, I have been healed. I have left it, but always only for a time, and then returned; and, far more tellingly, my heart has always returned with me (if, that is, it ever even left at all).

Of course, it is not now the time to leave - but it is drawing up. I found my haven, of course, or perhaps it found me. But the Spirit calls, and I think the Spirit calls me away.

I remember standing at the crest of East Rock last Fall, when the wind was biting but still an embrace, and looking out over its streets and valleys. From the summit, you can see the terrain: New Haven lies cupped in a shoreline valley, surrounded - by friendly hills beaming benevolent? Or towering giants glowering down? - and I could see all the paths of this city that I have walked, run, biked. Sometimes I walked hand-in-hand, or in comfortable chattiness; a few times, awkwardly, neurotically, all too self-aware.

This is, I guess, a salute

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