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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

New Surroundings

My husband works downstairs in his study, writing his sermon for tomorrow, the difference or is it the connection between divinity and humanness. He shares little. Perhaps a title, a scripture and sometimes a general subject.  I want surprise on Sunday morning. I want revelation and discovery as he slowly unwinds, reveals what has occured to him during the week that he hasn’t spoken of. He covers kindness and humility, generosity, our own particular brokeness and how it relates to an open heart.  We only returned from New York City a few days ago where our experiences varied greatly from place to place: art exhibt on body in balance, a poetry reading, a gathering of writer friends, Ground Zero, drinks on a roof top, pilgrimage to a mega camera shop where staff greet customers with “welcome home,” great food. And now we are back home. A kitchen with light. Living space on the second floor, in the trees. We’re waiting for leaves to fall from the large dogwood and oaks in the back so we can see the reservoir and its inhabitants. We’re still unpacking. Yesterday we organized the boxes in the garage, ones that will stay in “storage.” And furniture we don’t have room for.  And bicycles, surf board, hiking gear. A ping pong table. My previous moves involved displacement. This one clearly, relocation. No disorientation. Strangely and unexpectantly, we’ve landed in a good spot. For the first time in my life I have an appointed study. No duel function. The heather from Lucie, stones, shells, an old oriental rug from the Hanover house.   For some reason, I keep writing Hanover instead of Harpersville. From my desk it’s easy to reach for Hayden or Jane. The Pound Era or Swann’s Way. The Essental Keats. So easy. The wood floors, smooth against my bare feet. Traffic passing in front of the house not distruptive. I welcome the coming and going or more likely the passing through, a short cut off the highway. The busy street keeps neighbors distant. A parking lot seperates our house, the parsonage, from the church. For some strange reason, we feel “at home” here. At least inside the house, surounded by the familiar. Certainly, the gallery of family photographs lining the staircase eases our way up and down. I often take pause.  Tomorrow, Sunday. I’ll take another pause,  hear my husband’s words, written to be spoken.

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