Day four

10. One year when I was still in my birth country, on my way to work I drove through a small valley full of apple trees in bloom. It was near Soave. I was a sub teacher and my tenure at this particular school lasted for a short enough time that the apple trees were always in bloom.

white tree beside pathway
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on

This is what a blooming apple tree looks like. Imagine a small valley packed with them, and the road curving through it, ascending and descending. The valley opened up after a turn in the road, and every morning I took the turn with great anticipation, and every morning my breath stopped.

I loved being a sub teacher.  I saw many rural places I didn’t know and loved the kids and the classroom passionately. The smell, you know? The smell and the books and all that mutual teaching and learning.

11. One must thread the land of memory with great care. Sometimes it’s wise to stay away from it altogether, take a rest

12. The Luiselli book is in part about Luiselli’s own work as a documentarian, and her passion for documenting everything about her life. I am the opposite. I shed traces of the past like a ruthless conqueror who burns his enemy’s fields and tills them with salt.

13. In spite of the salt my past grows like kudzu. I try not to see the kudzu. I shut my eyes.

14. I take my past into my analysis and we grieve it together.

15. I have my memory. I don’t need documents. I don’t want documents. My memory is enough.

16. For now.