Your mind swirling around the contemplative, conspiratorial conversations you have just had as you walked the Gracie ditch with a woman who, while she was never your teacher, she helped imbue the English department at your high school with such a passion for literature that it propelled you into an English Education major. She also served you as an ever-faithful, ever-lighthearted, ever wise BTSA mentor during your brief stay as a teacher at your alma mater.
You pull into the Washington Mutual (...Chase…) parking lot and deposit a check you have received for working with two home hospital students, one – a girl whose dad has worked closely with your mom for years, the other who had a good family friend for math in 8th grade and whose current English teacher was once, no twice, your high school English teacher. You deposit the check and are walking back to the car when a man in a fellow Subaru drives by and waves at you. You wave back even though you have no idea who he is. But you probably should know…maybe he was your fifth grade teacher, maybe he knows your mom, or your in-laws- or your brothers – or you brother-in-laws or any of the families that come along with all those people.
You drive to Grocery Outlet. In the produce aisle you are stopped by a kid (…a young man…since when did people in their early 20s become kids?). He says, “Did you used to teach at Bear River?” You’ve never seen this kid in your life. You say yes and thus begins a conversation about how seniority works within a school system and the dire straits of American education at the moment. You go out on a limb and say, “I never had you…right?” He says no, but maybe you know his younger brother. You say yes, you do know him. When really you don’t, but the last name is so familiar that first reaction is that he must have been your student. But no, his mom was your 7th grade health and P.E. teacher who had to go out on maternity leave the year you were in her class – probably to have this kid’s younger brother, the one who you just claimed to know.
As you walk out of Grocery Outlet, you wave to someone driving by -Margaret, an older lady who sometimes subs at Nevada Union. And then you get in your car and drive to your current abode, which is owned by your brother-in-law’s boss.
Ahh… you have been rooted deep in the soil of this community for many moons now, but these are new tendrils – wispy and reaching they are curling out, stretching between you and every being in this place, binding and bringing new life.
And you wonder about leaving...