THE FIELD GUIDE PROJECT: A DAY THAT FEELS LIKE HOME

WORDS AND IMAGE: ALISON ZNAMIEROWSKI

A gorgeous contribution to our Field Guide Project, courtesy of the powerhouse poet behind No Waste Space.

       One by one, we climb out of my bedroom window and onto the roof. The sun is already high in the sky, and the tar of the roof has become a bit too hot for comfort on our bare feet. I lay down my blanket, and we all sit on top of it. Sun sprites, Genna calls us. We are all adorned in our flowery dresses and pants, the clothes that have been sitting in our closets untouched for the last six months.

            We are all light and giggly and excitable – friends, the sun, music, and love surround us. This, I would tell Lily later on, is the kind of community I hope to foster for the rest of my life. It is the end of our senior year; it is the time when the It really hasn’t dawned on me yet’s begin to turn into It’s starting to really hit me’s. Even the most joyful joy is interrupted lung-filled nostalgia; a futuristic perspective of retrospective longing.

            We begin to hear the music playing over in the WestCo courtyard, and decide to walk over together. One by one, we climb back into the room, lathering ourselves in sunscreen and packing small bags for the day of only essentials; sunscreen, tarot cards, Haribu gummy frogs, sunglasses, water. No heavy books, no laptops, not even the weight of the future yet on our backs.

            The WestCo courtyard is full of beautiful people – full of laughter and smiles, sundresses, lemonade. Anna Schwab is playing on the stage, and before I know it, the courtyard center-tree is carrying our bags and we are footloose and shoeless. Dancing with Lily and Kate is everything I need in this moment. Feeling the dirt underneath my feet and the sun on my face, everything feels right.

            After dancing, we decide to go to Foss. So many people are there, so happy; little sun worshippers at their best. Everyone looks so ethereal here when the days are sunshiny; too perfect for this world. I sit with Lily, and I read portions of her book called The Spiral Dance. It is about witchcraft and women’s spirituality, she tells me. She has recently been fascinated by goddesses, witchcraft, and female empowerment. Her crescent moon necklace hangs from her neck like a talisman, and how perfect she is, I think. I love that she is so excited by these new concepts that help to empower her. I love that she shares this excitement with me.

            We talk about things that we think are important. We talk about interpersonal relationships, about connection to nature and to ourselves, we talk about the life-lessons we have been lucky to learn thus far. Everything is connected, we say, everything ebbs and flows. People are just energy, wavelengths, and some float together and some are disonant. Sometimes we have bad days – and that is okay. Learning to be forgiving with ourselves. Learning to love ourselves. Learning to respect ourselves. Learning to shed labels and listen to ourselves everyday. Imbuing love in everything and everyone so you will always be safe, instead of withholding love to stay safe. 

            At the end of the day, I am on Foss and so is Jon – with Misha, Maret, Jonas, and others. He is napping, and the trash from Foss has collided and hugged his back as he lay asleep. I remove the compiled trash, and nestle myself into the crooks of his spine as the incline of the hill pulls us together. We're both hungry and tired, so we walk back to 88 Home. We set up a little nest on the roof, feeling the warm, soft breeze swirling around us as we eat and watch the sunset light reflecting on all of the trees that surround us. 

            “You’re the best girlfriend in the whole world,” Jon says in a state between awake and asleep. There are no words I can find that feel sufficient in describing the love I have for him, so I just smile and kiss him on the cheek and hope that he knows. 

            As he is napping, a mourning dove lands on a tree at the base of the roof. He hums his sad tune as we lay there, only one pair of ears to catch his song. I watch as the sky turns from a pinky-blue to a dimly bright twilight blue, and as the stars begin to peek their way out of the darkness. The wind picks up, and is carried by the leaves on the trees. I had forgotten how loud the wind was. 

            I am home.