I’m in the midst of a new writing project. A question ripples in me, and I pose it to you.
Where are you from?
Who are the people, places and experiences that shape and form the amazing critter of you?
My son, Justin, answered this question in a high school writing class. The morning after he died, oh so unexpectedly, the school principal called me, asking if she could come to my house. She brought me his words–a poignant, life-giving gift. I am grateful. And, in this month of November, I am thankful.
Where are you from? Who will appreciate your response?
Where I Am From
by Justin Bernecker, 11/1/05
I am from the sweaty track jerseys
and smelly track shoes.
Tired muscles and over worked bodies,
Hard breathing that only comes from
I am from the sweet smelling mountain
peaks of Colorado,
the dusty windswept deserts in Arizona
to the salty shores of Alaska.
I am from the neatly cut grass in
my backyard to the hammock
hanging between two trees.
The lonely rake that stands alone
against the wall, forgotten by
those who used it last.
I am from the cold lakes that gradually
warm in the summer,
to the boats that gently rock in the
gentle breeze blowing from the south.
To the fish that play in the shadows
of the trees, and the crawfish
that make their homes under the rocks.
I am from the fruit trees spilling over
with ripe fruit calling out to
be picked by young hands
to the boys sitting, laughing on the fence
posts, watching the cotton candy clouds
float by in that endless blue sky.
I am from the wheat fields that
gently sway in the summer wind
the sweat that comes in from cutting
wood all day under a blazing sun.
I am from the “Go on, do something outside”
type of family that raised me so well.
I am from the deer spaghetti, overflowing
With rich red sauce, to the traditional wild
turkey that we eat on thanksgiving.
The wild salmon that we catch off of the
river and smoke up at the lodge for the
guests to enjoy for their dinner.
This is who I am.