Monday, November 21, 2011

Deep Roots

Oft-seen peaks loom, their unfamiliar silhouettes framed by a low-hanging sky. They seem to shrink, diminishing in scope but not magnitude until their time-jagged ridges fall into focus: puzzle pieces fit to alcoves of my heart that my mind never bothered to explore.

In my childhood, I often felt somewhat left out; I never loved these mountains. I couldn't ever be a true Campbellfull-fledged and five-foot-one and flowered cheeks and flying dark eyes and hair—if these mountains were not mine. I would fly with my cousins in the space where the sky and the snow try to kiss, but I rarely felt the sparkle of that long-awaited touch reflected in my own eyes.

I began to grow. Five-one; five-two; five-three; five-four. My hair is orange and strawberry and grapefruit and pomegranate, and my eyes hold the cold love of the Atlantic. I accepted that I was the "East Coast Branch", distinct and different and distant.

But maybe I'm not that far after all. These mountains are wondrous; their sky as captivatingly dangerous as my sea. Ridges and silhouettes remain alien, yet sometimes the shadows in their pockets spell out the notes of our old family stories.

Can landscapes be passed down through our blood?

I am a true Campbell—you only have to look at the shape of my eyes, or watch the furrow grow in my brow as I concentrate, or listen to the peculiar banter and story telling that's bound to happen when we all get together. However, I am a Campbell most of all when I see the almost identical faces of my uncles fill with an identical mischievous love when they turn at the top of our history and smile: "Take this run with me, Ali."

Next summer I want my Clan to all come out to Maine. I want to share with them all the laughter I've found in the reflection of icy spray in the sun and in freckled faces in antique mirrors. Maybe, the refracted light will fall into focus: puzzle pieces fitting into alcoves of their hearts they have yet to explore.

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