I come from piles and piles of books, from black tea and toast spread thickly with peanut butter, from black bean soup and tamale pie.
I come from windows thrown open and carefully cultivated gardens, from cool tile floors and rope swings, from grudgingly shared bunk beds and community pools.
I come from orange trees, both legendary and remembered, from lavender crushed between fingertips and basil breathed deeply, from fields of sunflowers and hillsides bursting with sweet peas.
I come from Easters of resurrection replaced with fried chicken and strawberries dipped in whipped cream, from minds open to change and error, from Crowleys, Larkins, and Davises alike.
I come from closely concealed and jealously guarded pain and from forgiveness freely given, from histories created to wound, and from burning memories singed with unwanted truths.
I come from the knowledge that life is brief and beautiful, that worth is created from within rather than rewarded from without, and that one can’t hope to know the world by staying within the realm of the comfortable.
I come from a religion that occupies no church but of which the god is compassion and tolerance and wisdom, and in which there is neither heaven nor hell, but only the present.
I come from the rocky and foam-studded coast of California, from its palm trees and redwoods, its deserts and rivers and snow-capped mountains. But beyond that, I come from the emerald hills and enchanted woods of Ireland.
I come from pasta with ham and peas, from pecan pie, and fresh coffee.
I come from my mother’s stories of broken teeth and my father’s encounter with an aggressive elbow, from an uncle’s drug-induced catastrophe, and from my grandmother’s tales of sadness transformed.
I come from the photos and home videos that have immortalized certain realities and disguised the darkness that invisibly cut at our ankles.
I come from Brönte and Whitman and Tolkien and Twain and from a chain of stories and individuals that stretches back beyond memory.
From all of this and more I come, but into what I go I cannot tell, until the day when there is no more to see but what came before.