• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 01
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Small Town Collage

Maybe it’s the yoga studio on Fifth St. for you while for me it’s the Bagels Are Better on Main. I’ve seen you walking past the construction site abutting the florist’s shop, foam mat rolled like a tight braid under your arm, going to and fro. We might bump into each other at the library. This is what I imagine because, you see, I don’t really know anything about you except that you do yoga and walk rather than drive between studio and home. Even so, the collage of my town has a place for you, between Main and Washington St. in mid-stride.

Does the world flow for you? Do the edges bleed into one another—the studio and your house, the streets and intersections? The world—that is to say, my town—does not flow for me. It is a configuration of still shots pinned to a blank canvas, including home, which sets my particular view of town apart from yours.

Wherever you go after your yoga class is not the same destination as mine when I’m done with my bagel and chai tea.

Two banks, where I keep my savings and pay my bills, stand side by side in my mind, despite the fact that one is smack dab in the center of town while the other is a fortress built off the highway that bisects east and west. Lately clinics loom large on the collage of my town. The hospital that they built outside of town proper is pinned to my clipboard, not far from the university where I teach, the bagel place where I lunch, the grocery store where I buy nearly the same items every weekend to replenish fridge and cupboard, the clinic where a team of doctors convince me that I am no longer young.

The collage has shifted over time. Some scraps of paper yellow and curl; they are taken down and tossed into recycling, like the bookstore and the old-fashioned department store that closed earlier this century.


Small Town Collage

Nudged over a few inches, the university gave up its pivotal location in the center of the collage to home when our son was born. Parks, schools, Dental Care and Orthodontics, a charm bracelet of changing friends’ homes, football and soccer fields, the neighborhood pool configured the map of our lives for more than eighteen years.

Communities flock like cold winter geese around church or school or work. The collage of my town grows and shrinks with the vagaries and joys of my life. Yours must, too. I find myself looking for you when I do my shopping or I browse through the stacks at the library, wondering what marvels grace your own collage.