Moments and Decades


Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Pexels

You’ve no doubt noticed the time acceleration machine that is the aging process. The relativity of time becomes more pronounced the more attention one pays and as you get older it just becomes inescapable. Yesterday exemplified this. 

I participated in a celebration of my undergrad alma mater’s first Creative Writing graduates. It’s taken over 50 years but Sam Krell and Jo Nguyen, poets, have earned the distinction of heading up the inaugural class of those with a Creative Writing area of concentration. I was there to rep old school alumni. Dr. Emily Carr (who I was happily informed had ushered in this very welcome new age) referred to me as  ‘distinguished’. Odd to hear but clearly said with warmth and respect so I’ll take it. And clearly you could call me much worse.

It’s now literally been decades since I graduated from that outstanding school. That hadn’t really dawned on me until yesterday. The old girl’s holding up pretty well, so no concerns on that front. Rather it was the quality of one in their early to mid 20s that struck me—not necessarily exuberance or any other reductive assessment. Generally, I think people are quite individual. (See what I did there?) Generations or any other kind of group can have just as much that differentiates them than not. The thing my fellow readers shared was just that, a quality. It’s like a particular light at a certain time of day or place, like a golden wash of sun I’ve only ever seen in Florence or a dusky lilac dawn that stretches over Kentucky before the day breaks open proper. 

They had a certain light, those poets (and one poet/short story writer): Sam, Jo, Daniel Dykiel, Oci Krasny, and Prince Quamina. It made me wonder what I will look like to myself in 20 years. It reminded me to try and catch people in their best light, to see what’s uncovered and discovered when we catch one another at the right moment.

Also it had been too long since I heard people share of themselves in the lovely way that poets do. From the heart for whoever is willing to bear witness. 

The program had the subtitle of Reconnecting with Our Roots. I guess that means I’m a root now, me who has barely sprung from the earth, nurtured by all those who came before and the ease their hardship provided. 

Tenea D. Johnson


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