Stories from the Muddy

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Roads Taken

By Naomi Lewis

            Looking back is like gazing into a kaleidoscope.  At the end of a long tube, colorful patterns emerge, flow, fuse, click and change as I slowly turn my life, remembering.

            A friend who died young was wise beyond his years when he told me, “Naomi, whatever you want to do, you have to be it.”  I spent years fumbling, before I understood his words in action. 

            I couldn’t have known as an untried youth who I was, what I would produce, who I would become.  When I was a pretender of things to come, I couldn’t even imagine the depth of me or what I would discover until after long years of erupting, melting, cooling, sizzling, folding, thrusting, like geologic movement, producing mountains and mole hills.

A hill in Lampeter, Wales

Not until I stared at sands so silver they hurt my eyes at the estuary at Laugharne did I acknowledge I was a pilgrim in search of “Fern Hill,” the playground of golden-tongued poet, Dylan Thomas and held my dream of Wales in my arms.  I stood where he stood and I too was “happy as the heart was long” and the day was “Now.”

            I wonder if it had been up to me, would I have left home, family, all things familiar, crossed an ocean and a continent as my great grandfather Arthur Lewis did at fourteen to help build a kingdom?  Not until I stood at the railing of a ferry crossing between Mallaig, Scotland and the Isle of Skye did I glimpse that too blue line where sky and water meet and see for the first time the DNA I shared with my courageous ancestors.

The road where trees kissed in the middle in Smalinenkai, Lithuania
             I could not know who I was until I searched for and found where they came from.  Not until I walked where trees on both sides of the road waved, and bounced and kissed in the middle did it dawn on me that I felt something akin to what my ancestors must have felt.  I was on a difficult journey in reverse to a small village in Lithuania from which my mother’s father’s grandparents immigrated to America.  I too was a pioneer just like my venerated forbearers.

            I didn’t know I would become a Shakespearean actor.  Not until I was pronounced ‘a Goddess on stage,’ did I grasp I had become what I wanted to do. 

            I could not have known who I was until I peered at the sky through a slender tube after the passing of many years that I was more than I could ever in my youth have imagined.  My pedigree is eternal.  Now, what can I do knowing, I am a child of God?

Mwnd, Wales summer 2005

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