• Shana Ritter

Moving into summer

We are moving into summer. This morning there was heat just past sunrise, and by mid-morning the birds’ songs are lackadaisical. The day lilies have come into bloom and the peonies are all but faded. The longest day is quickly approaching, and still I am getting used to this expanse of light, to giving up the longer nights. Shifting from the ease of long descending dusks to the bright spill of sunlight.

I am caught in the midst of the transition. Not just the season, but my own transformation. In the last months I have shifted my geography. After a decade of work at the university (policy, research, facilitation on issues of racial and ethnic equity in education), I work from home; writing, starting up a foundation, home caring, grand-parenting. My plate is full, but my pace is more deliberate, reflective, grounded.

My writing too is shifting. As wine is structured by terroir, so too is language and writing. By terroir I mean more than climate, soil, topography, rather what is drawn from place; sounds, textures, hues. What is taken in, as well as what is caste aside; the footsteps that cross the ground, the hands that work the vines. Language pulls from time, the places lived, the people lived with, as well as the longing for what is not known, or what is no longer. I am hoping these drawn out days, this new sense of time, this expanse of light, continue to open me.

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