Back Around Again


I’ve been remembering this post, one I wrote 2.5 years ago, and I’m reeling about it:

I went home again –

the mountain, saw the vertical beams of our gymnasium overlooking the hills, all the slight spreading of red at the fingertips of maples. The sun was hot, but the air had a glaze of cool in it, picking up little hairs and standing them on end.

I bought a bag of cotton candy with four tickets at the harvest festival, and I stood to the side and watched a woman sweat into some popular funnel-cake batter. A band played, “I’ll Fly Away.” I tapped my fingers against my leg. We sang, too, quietly. Ian bounced at the knees, the song he knows well, and we held hands and smiled.

I saw my cousin there. We love each other – even though the conversation began in a polite howdy and ended in a nondescript embrace. We don’t come out and say anything we know of things passed. He’s the first person that read poetry to me, first person to hand me a joint, to make me laugh so hard at nothing, we in Converse shoes and flannel shirts, we inhaling right about the time emo kids were being potty trained. He knows well the trouble I borrowed back then, the trouble I felt right for borrowing, confirming my brokenness.

I’m back in Arkansas now, and my cousin emailed me yesterday explaining the death (another one) of one of our friends. It happened two years ago, and I didn’t even know. I reeled all night about those friends, the ones still rocking life, how I loved them and didn’t know well then how to show it.

Now that I’ve moved away, had my own babies, and believed in Jesus, becoming someone I never ever thought I would be, Home is a sick sweet identity scrambler, a rolling scene with sight and sound alarms for the memory. So much of my life has been defined by who I love, and with love, a heart doesn’t divide, but rather it multiplies – as when a child is added to a family.

I will never not love the ones who gathered in the side room in the smoke cloud, Mad Season.

You think when you’re young that if you live long enough to get better, the old will somehow break off, and you’ll look back and call it Sonic Youth. Boom, then gone. But what I’ve learned is that your youth never stops bleeding into our older age. Not even fear keeps it from happening.

To the young: Love well while you can, and let who you love be those you want to keep with you forever. Because they do stay with you.

While still in Alabama, I drove by Robbie’s road, and I thought he must still live there, and I smiled and wished him well. So many of us lost ourselves in the same exact place we thought we had been found. Home can be like that, limbo – a balance between love and lost.

About me


What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
Marriage Letters: On Home
July 06, 2015
Findings: the Parent Circle, the gifts, and the simpler thing
March 13, 2015
Women Set Apart
February 23, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
Embrace the Awkward
April 09, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014


Kelly Sauer
Reply February 13, 2013

Oh this makes me ache, friend. Oh.

LoveFeast Table
Reply February 13, 2013

Can't help but think of the love you ushered in when your foot passed your home city's line. Love you friend. ~K

Reply February 13, 2013

going home is weird. This is beautifully written. I wish I could outrun or outgrow that childhood pain, but it is always there, and while some say we are better people for it, I can't help but think that I know lots of great people who never endured it.

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply February 13, 2013

My heart throbs with this, Amber.

grace at {gabbing with grace}
Reply February 13, 2013

Love this: "To the young: Love well while you can, and let who you love be those you want to keep with you forever. Because they do stay with you." Love it.

Reply February 13, 2013

This is beautiful and heartbreaking, friend. Thinking of you with such tenderness and love.

Jolie Kirsten
Reply February 15, 2013

Going home, which for me can be as little as the slow rhythmic creak of a rocking chair, brings feelings to surface. It's all still there. Thank you Amber, I loved this post

Reply February 15, 2013

This harkens of truth for me too.

I never thought of it that way... "I will never not love (those) in the smoke cloud," but I don't even know how to reconnect to those who I knew in my old sin-skin -- now that I'm His kin. Maybe they're wondering the same?


Reply February 18, 2013

Amber, I'm so glad to read this again because it reminds me of my own times and my own friends, and I have lost a couple, too. Your line about them staying with us sent me back to what I wrote when I lost my Dana.

Thanks for that reminder to go back and remember.

Sonic Youth. Boom.


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