8 AM// Another Letter to the Red Covered Bridge

Letters

Dear Bridge (& by extension, Valley Green),

I’m not really sure when I’ll see you next– throughout 2018, I’ve had the privilege of coming back here countless times for weddings and races and high fives and hugs.  

But as for 2019, on verra.  

We shall see.

2019 looks to be like “one of those years”–

meaning lots of change, lots of movement, lots of unsuredness.  

It’s kind of funny though because no matter where I’ll end up, I always imagine this as the one mile marker– the final stretch– in any situation I encounter.  

The last mile of a race, the last hoorah of a semester, the last few feet until my doorstep.  

All of those moments, I find myself chanting–

“Turn into the curve. Pick up your feet.  Move your arms. Breathe. One more mile. One more mile. One more freaking mile.”

Find my eyes straining, looking for the blip of red signalling almost there, almost done.

***

Six months ago, I left another letter here in a golden envelope thinking it would probably get washed away by the creek.  That I would leave it here and nothing would come of it.

As you can see, that letter has gone 360 degrees–evolving into a place for others to gather, to reflect, to write, to connect.  It has led to meeting wonderful people and hearing and reading others’ stories and more deeply understanding how people are so inextricably bound to one another.

But maybe The Bridge has been that kind of a place– a place connectedness– all along.

For me, this idea of connectedness has followed me into grad school where I’ve had the privilege of steeping my thoughts in theories about place and people and community and vulnerability and belonging and then see it play out– IRL. In real freaking life.

It has also given me the privilege of literally (and metaphorically) holding other people’s stories about places and communities and belonging in my very own hands. I don’t think I’ve read a single letter without laughing or crying — or sometimes both– in wonder and astonishment at how people are just so fundamentally human. In the best possible of ways.

Not sure if it’s the rush of endorphins or the sentimentality of nostalgia or the fact I’m about to hop on a plane–yet again–and won’t see this place for who-knows-how-long-time– but

WOW.

I am in total and complete and utter awe of how this place can bring people together in the most special and strange and spectacular of ways.

WOW WOW WOW.

In any case, I have one more mile til I’m done with today’s rainy run. Leaving this letter here in the meantime to say “THANK YOU, Y’ALL!” for reminding me that no matter where we might go in this big crazy world, there are places like this that keep drawing us back, keep drawing us home while reminding us that no matter how hard or difficult something may be, we’ll always have enough guts to get through one last mile–

one more mile one more mile one more mile.

Here’s to kicking some serious butt in the last mile of all of our projects, work, relationships, lives, and places.

Bonne année!

❤ Kat

12 PM//Cabrini Walking Bridge

Letters

There are more elaborate, more poetic, more profound ways of putting all of this but right now, I just want to write everything IN ALL CAPS:

BECAUSE I AM HOME AND GET TO EAT FLAKY PASTRIES AND HUG MY FRIENDS AND DRINK MIMOSAS ON PLAYGROUNDS AND PLAY SHARKS AND MINNOWS WITH HUNDREDS OF TINY HUMANS AND SIT NEXT TO THE BAYOU AND JUMP OUT FROM BEHIND DOORS AND SHRIEK WITH DELIGHT AT SEEING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WHOM I HAVE MISSED SO SO MUCH AND Y’ALL!! I AM HOME.  

Weird happy hand dances 4 dayz.

10.7.18: Mile 22 Chicago Marathon

Letters

It is somewhat of a weird miracle how memories resurface.

How they are remembered, retold, rehashed.

How biking or walking or running or sitting in one place can have the kind of magic that lures and pulls you back to another time, another place, another person— a glimmer of Orion’s belt, the snap of a wine cork, a faint whiff of toasted hazelnut.

In French and Creole cultures, this kind of remembrance encapsulates the magic of déjà-vu— the sense that what you are experiencing au présent, you have already experienced au passé.

The sense that you are living in this shadowy yet glimmering place between past and present.

A Chicagoan’s Letter to Chicago

Letters

Today marks my one month “move-iversary” to Chicago.

As in, one month ago, I unloaded all of my books and tchotchkes and ate more pizza than my body could handle to call Chicago “home.”

Or whatever “home” really means these days. 

I have been thinking a lot about what this means and how to celebrate this– one month of making new friends! One month of attempting to understand public trans! One month of reading and talking and listening and reading some more!

But this has also made me acutely aware of how much work and understanding I still need to do to really–truly– call Chicago home.

Made me realize how much of this city I don’t know, don’t understand.

Bon Voyages and Beginnings

Letters

“So when do you think you’re going to start missing New Orleans?”

We’re in the car, riding on a high of McDonald’s french fries and almost 900 hours of summer camp. The music is pulsing, reverberating, through the bones of the car. Mississippi pine trees go by in a blur, the sun as well.  My fingers tap against the window, feet slung up onto the dashboard, head bopping from side to side. I’m humming along absentmindedly to some summer anthem, making up words, picking at my split-ends, dotting mosquito bites with my fingernails.

9 AM EST//Goucher Woods

Letters

To the Goucher College Woods:

If you’re here, meandering or sprinting or sleeping amidst these trees, hopefully you find the same sense of calm, the same sense of respite, the same sense of connection I found here, everyday, for four years.

I still come back, once every few years, tracing my fingers over the Heart Trees, feeling my legs tense up at the sight of Rocking Chair Hill, sensing myself calm down seeing the waves of buttercups laughing and bobbing in the breeze of the Back Jump Field.

7 PM//Streets of New Orleans

Letters

To the Krewe of the 504th:

This is how I feel when I get to run with y’all:

smiley

This is how I feel because of the impact you’ve had on my life–

each and every one of you crazy runners:

blessed

This is how I feel, knowing now the power running has to ignite change and to bridge the gap between different people, places, and communities:

pow

And this is how I feel leaving y’all after this final crew run before heading North for a while:

triste

 

Thank you thank you thank you for welcoming me into the BTG Familia and for somehow always *magically* sending out some crew love whenever I need it most.

See y’all in Chicago for Marathon Sunday!

❤ ❤ ❤ Kat