How snow muffles the sounds a regular woods make, that is what I wanted, always. I sought solace as I leaned towards 50 by talking, words bouncing in between hard and soft spots in me, in those around me. I thought the answer was the volume; higher, lower, more bass, more treble, more balance.

Turns out it was the volume, just not the measure of sound, more the measure of amount. The number of words, explanations, the questions turning into answers, the negotiating was drowning in its volume.

The plane ride home for my first visit to the places that lived me. The vast empty spaces of sky and land, as I hurtled toward where I was born, the home I was brought to. The beginning of the noises that led me here.

I would take this first trip with the mother who brought me home that very first day. She showed me a picture I had never seen of us looking at each other; she is smiling and I look concerned, intent.

And from that the beginning hush of finding my own wooded snow, the silence of so this is where it began. The space between words filling up with drifts of rest, understanding.

I walked closer, as close as I dared, to take a stone from my pocket, from my home now, so many miles from the origin of me, and I traded it for one by a lone tree in the yard. Getting back in the car my sister said ‘I saw what you did, what was that?’, and I told her how I brought stones to leave behind, and how I picked up something to bring back, connecting the two, scattering my now into my then.

When I drove from that first home, the new stone light in my pocket, my mother and siblings in the car as the road made the small home smaller, the word that came with me was love.


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