where I'm from

I was out on an island in Casco Bay this weekend to help start a training program for a group of people in southern Maine who are committed to strengthening their contribution to the common good. There were about thirty of us and we had that many hours to get to know each other. So among the wild elements of Cow Island we practiced the three foremost things that tend to accelerate human connection: play, picnics, and poetry.

We borrowed from George Ella Lyon’s Where I’m From poem and wove together our own memories of places, people, experiences, moments, lessons, values, and convictions into a constellation of words to hint at the things in life that have shaped us into who we are and the things that continue to inform who we are becoming. This is the one that I wrote:


I am from trails that follow rivers.

I’m from between two posts,

and a backyard sycamore.

I’m from all four seasons and the stuff in between them.

I’m from Jim Jim Jim.

I’m from abundant life and live love laugh and keep it tender.

from family camp and Santa bags,

from mint squares and May I.


I’m from my father’s memories of the river I was born near.

I’m from the small House with a capital H

(next to a crooked garage)

full of books for decor

and two bedside tables 

from my Grampy’s workshop.


I’m from walks by the rivers,

green smoothies in the morning,

dogadillas on Saturday,

cut grass,

and tidying my thoughts with a pencil.