At work, I park near a vacant lot that is littered with debris, trees and the occasional burst of color.
Last week, I noticed that in addition to dozens of chaotic and prolific small yellow flowers, there were a few pale purple blooms.
It doesn’t really matter where I was 20 years ago Saturday, because I wasn’t in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or flying over Pennsylvania.
But any American old enough to remember that day, remembers where they were when they heard what was happening, when they saw the images on television.
I hope to be much older still before I’m done, but I have already lived long enough to hold several worlds in my hands.
First, there was my childhood, where we played outside, slapped at mosquitoes and ran freely back and forth to neighbors’ houses without our parents worrying if we would make it there safely.
Growing up in what is now a bursting-at-the-seams Chicago suburb, I lived next door to a cottage without indoor plumbing.
The cottage had been the goat shed of the homestead in our rural area and, as children, we were fascinated by its primitive plumbing.
Once in a while, I remember to play.
What came so naturally to us as children is less obvious to our aging adult bodies and sensibilities. We have been conditioned to focus on dignity, task completion, responsibility and worrying what people will think about us.
It seems several lifetimes have passed since I sat in the grass on the side of a hill in a small community outside Rockford, Illinois, watching fireworks with my boyfriend.
I was 17, about to head off to college and had no idea what the next decades would bring.
For the last nine months, I’ve been immersed in the worlds of Navarre and Santa Rosa County.
It’s been fascinating and challenging to understand the smaller community of the area stretched along U.S. Highway 98 and the county, which includes everything from high-rise condominiums to agriculture.
I grew up with snow and ice in the winter, the smell of burning leaves in the fall and tulips popping up in strange places in the spring, along with a sea of mud.
The summers in Illinois were warm enough for swimming and boating, as long as you chose the right day of the year and the right time of the day.
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