A little one room red school house on the slope of a holler in Clay County, KY. Part of me is still there, with all that happened, with the children I met, who are now all old and probably grandparents if they live. Every morning I live on earth gets compared to those dewy mornings, the Kentucky sun slowly etching its way across the wet, dark mountains. A distant farmer already at work, plowing with a mule on the nearly vertical slope of next ridge, defying gravity. Poke shoots, blackberries, wild strawberries pushing their way up through the scrabble at the side of the road-- can't pick it because the coal companies spray it all with poison. I find myself on the coal road in my mind, half an eye out for the speeding trucks spilling coal as they turn, the kids grabbing their leavings, to take home for the furnace. There'd be heat come winter. I went with the other teachers to their family homes, sat on their porches, picking peas and chatting, making room for ourselves in their lives. Getting to know a world so different from my own, a world I recognize in many of the countries I've visited since. I can call it all back in an instant.
But I can't remember how to get there. And there is no one left who knows the way. I am old.