The answer is blowing in the wind.

25 09 2007

A cold front came through suddenly yesterday, so quickly in fact that I closed all the windows in my apartment and slept under a pile of blankets last night.

This morning, while walking from school to the padaria during a free period, the wind kicked up. I noticed how crisp the air felt, how much like fall it seems today and for an instant I was at home, walking up Chapel Street in New Haven toward York, wrapping my jacket around my body a bit tighter to keep the breeze from my skin. Rather than walking by the tall whitewashed cement walls and metal fences that line the streets here, behind which are single-story homes with loud beefy dogs as protectors, I passed by the storefronts of Basta and Claire’s, Rainbow, the Chapel Sweet Shop, Maxine’s, and could see down into Sherman’s Alley (some of those stores long gone and replaced by others by now.) I could see the cars lining either side of Chapel in that area, could feel the thin white Starbucks cardboard cup in my hands, and the warmth emanating from it, that I would most certainly be carrying if I were there.

The leaves I heard in the wind I imagined were ones that had already turned red and yellow and were about to drop on the street, collecting against the curbs and swept up by huge machines everyday; I did not see the tall palm fronds, or the banyans here, or the the yellow and purple flowering leafy trees that tower above all the buildings. Rather than walking past a cement bus stop and passing by a red dirt soccer field, I instead saw my reflection in the Atticus window and gazed into the foyer of the British Art Museum. I imagined I saw my friend Norah at work in a store nearby, waving to her through the window, and I could almost feel my heels click down on the sidewalk turning the corner toward Broadway.

While I could remember the time when a black pig crossed my path on my walk to the padaria, I could much more clearly remember seeing familiar faces working at the Roomba burrito cart.  I could see the posters advertising Yale clubs and shows. Could remember walking with my students one afternoon from a Habitat for Humanity site to Broadway for lunch. Could remember the blue rug in my classroom. Could remember winter and scarves and cold fingers and cold noses. Could remember my apartment and the light in Wooster Square in the evening just before the sunsets. Could smell pizza wafting up over the buildings on Wooster Street and settling in on my section of Chapel. Could remember coming in from the cold and breathing a sigh of relief.

This morning, in the time outside, in that single moment of recognition in the air, I missed New Haven–everything that’s there, and everyone who’s there. It was then, there outside on a small street in Brazil during a quick break from my daily routine, that I’d understood where it was I really wanted to be.

And when I said to myself, without hesitation, I’m coming home.


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16 responses

25 09 2007
luana

Dear Ms.C

I would never want you to leave us. And I am really sad about it. But if you are glad about your dessision, then I am too.

25 09 2007
Jennie

So your decision is made. Good for you.

25 09 2007
Susan

You have such a gift with the way you surround words and make them what you want them to be and in turn it fills me the reader with imagination. I could almost feel, smell, and see exactly what you described. Welcome home.

25 09 2007
Tina (aka Mom)

I have goosebumps everywhere – I can’t even comment, I’m so happy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (where are those smiley-faced emoticons when you need them? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

25 09 2007
ginacoggio

(Luana–thank you. I know it’s hard to hear news like that, but what’s important to think about is that we’ll be together in school all year and we’ll get to make all of it really good.)

25 09 2007
sj

🙂 🙂

25 09 2007
marissa

New Haven will be a better place just having you in it. 🙂

25 09 2007
Holly

God, after reading that, I want to move to New Haven, too.

26 09 2007
sangroncito

I know that “I’m ready to go home” feeling well. Trust your feelings. And New Haven is a lovely town to go home to.

26 09 2007
Nilsa S.

I think it’s great you know where home really is. In the meantime, be sure to lap up everything you can in Brazil knowing one day it will no longer be home. PS – Though I’m not in New Haven, weather where I am tends to head that way in a couple days. It was in the high 80s and incredibly humid a few days ago. Nothing like fall! 🙂

26 09 2007
Rachel L

Congrats! It must feel like a huge weight lifted. Life is funny like that… one day you’re back and forth on decisions, with no idea how to come to a conclusion. The next day, your gut just knows what to do.

26 09 2007
ginacoggio

Yes…I’ve been sighing from relief all day. And better yet, I’ve been thinking of all the possibilities waiting for me at home and today has, in general, been a very excellent day!

26 09 2007
Harold

I agree with Marissa. After being away, though, you may find that “home” has changed and so have you.

26 09 2007
cassiee

Ms C. This is absolutley beautiful. I could imagine this in my mind as i was reading.

26 09 2007
rob

I remember bowing my head to the cold, clutching my heavy trenchcoat and thinking, “Thank God for this long coat because these dress pants do not block the wind AT ALL!!!”
brrrrrrrrrrr (in the worst way).
Ah, I never planned on going back but, since you’ll be there…….. but don’t expect me to be nice to the Crown Street people!

27 09 2007
Sofy

I agree with Luana. I’ll miss you a lot when you leave, but if you’re happy, then I’m happy.
Besides, I’ll bother you so much about visiting that there’s no way you won’t.

And we’ll have a big, huge, gigantic goodbye party for you with lots of chocolate and food and presents.
(mostly for me, of course, but if you’re nice I’ll give you some.)

-Sofy

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