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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

Always Beginning

I arrived last night in the dark, disoriented. After stopping to pick up my key at  Campus security, I entered the dorm following the numbers to the assigned room, turning right not left. I find myself in the back room, not the front, as usual. This particular dorm is the last in a row, so while I can’t see, I know before me is an tree-line, an open field. And this morning, as I lift the shade there it is: Bare trees forming two tree-lines, two open fields, snow banked and this morning a light fog. While I have never in 20 years stayed in this room, I feel at home. At home with a new perspective . In back, not in front. I’m unpacked and settled in. There is just one problem. This room is the location where a friend usually stays . While I am at home and love the room, it feels like her room. There is a room just like this one below and I will see if today I can secure that room for her but until then I feel a lack of generosity by claiming it for myself.

Yesterday while traveling, my husband sat with his aging mother in an emergency room. She has been acting strange and unlike herself. After seeing her doctor earlier in the morning, she was sent for tests. All her tests looked good and she was released, but the original issue of seeing and feeling bugs on the her body was not eventually addressed. The message delivered by phone: my husband took her home with him. He could not leave her alone in her house. Yes, the spare room has clean sheets, welcoming pillows. The bathroom is directly across the hall for easy access.

I read a great many articles while traveling so I can’t be sure and have no way to go back and check but I believe it was in relation to Roxane Gay’s new story collection, Difficult Women that I read (certainly a misquote) Always enter a room knowing you deserve to be there. I liked how that notion felt in my body yesterday and today

New Beginning


. An internal, Yes.

I have but a few books with me: Eliot’s Four Quartets, The Paraclete Poetry Anthology,  Chris Anderson’s Light When It Comes, Natalie Diaz’ When My Brother Was an Aztec and lastly, Lorin Roche’s The Radiance Sutras. Reading for this residency. Along with my mantra: What opportunity presents itself in this moment?  I begin once again. This bi-annual rotation to Vermont. Wanting to embody compassion and generosity and claim every room I enter.

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