A Toast to Virginia:
To the sea salt and swamp lands of my childhood backdrop,
To where I took my first step, said my first word,
To John Brown Lane where I tattered my jeans and skinned my knee’s over and over,
To my first broken heart, then my second and third,
To summer’s in the blue ridge mountains with girlfriends… jumping off waterfalls, building bon fires and blazing trails,
To falling in love with art in the aisle of libraries, in classrooms and by the side of my grandfather as he painted Native Americans.
To my father reading green eggs and ham over and over and over, until I had the book memorized.
To drinking coffee out of tea cups on Sunday mornings.
To sunrises breaking above the Atlantic and how our best conversations rose with the sun.
To my mother who taught me the power of thoughts and words and how our lives are shaped by them,
To the long hours of healing and how she never ever gave up; even when she thought it was impossible or it wouldn’t matter,
To the baking at Christmas and how everything smelt of cinnamon and chocolate always. To the holidays she always made beyond magical.
To my sister who has been my best friend since barbies were what we had in common.
To the times going to putt putt and the mall in your Jetta.
To all the comforting hugs and good advice.
To tall the long car rides where you let me lay in your lap.
To the late nights of gaming.
To when you told me you will understand one day and how I thought that was impossible. How nearly all of those one days have come and I do truly understand.
A raised glass to the ladies and gents in Ghent,
To late nights talking about ethereal matter over cold brews across from that karaoke bar,
To the ones who listened to The National and MeWithOutYou late into the night that summer before I moved to Germany,
To dancing in the rain in parking lots,
To the mandolin playing on the docks,
To the ones who were in my life for a millisecond and those who will never leave,
To him, always him… for everything he has taught me and all the love he gives,
To the place where we met, the man I now call husband… how this meeting is the reason I believe in love more than anything…
To the many times we drank lattes and drove the country roads for hours,
To the conversations we began here and will finish for the rest of our lives,
Cheers to the crepe myrtle capital of the world.
Cheers to the cardinal state.
Cheers to the first landing in the new world.
Though I am leaving… you understand this is my way…
always the leaving to new places and foreign landscapes.
I raise my glass to my origin. My first home. Cheers!