Tradition is a powerful way to feel all seasons. Three summers ago, I started a routine claiming Park Point’s Lafayette Community Center bigLake beach as mine to swim in and write on three to five times a week.

I drove down tenth avenue east yesterday afternoon behind a deep red, sparkly Toyota sedan with the Minnesota license “Old Bat”. I leaned closer and laughed. My two year old pup named Bat sat contently in the backseat of our car. I wished I’d had my phone handy to capture and share the personalized plate with my Bat lovers and old bats.

While in Durham, North Carolina last month, I heard Exit West author Mohsin Hamid describe us all as migrants. He said, “Whether we’ve moved from one country or region to another or have just wanted to be someplace or someone different in our minds, we know what the cost of uprooting and rebuilding ‘home’ and ‘self’ is in our hearts.” His ability to unite us as an audience speaks to the universal in leaving one place and finding ourselves in another.

“Hope is relational. It doesn’t exist in the abstract. Hope confronts. It doesn’t ignore pain, agony or injustice… Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word.” -Cory Booker

Last spring on the tail end of grieving the death of an important father figure in my life, I lost my beloved 7 year old pup Lichen overnight to sepsis.

Life in the north and life in the south are very different. I spend most of my creative life trying to find words to illuminate the contrast. I love that I own both realities. Yet crave more opportunities to dig into what matters most below the Mason Dixon line and leave northern propriety all behind.

In 2008, at the end of musky May, I left New Orleans, Louisiana with fifteen other womxn (most of us had never met each other before) on bike. Determined to make our way to New York City, we’d secured six weeks to travel together advocating for reproductive justice, sexual politics, and bike collectives while on the road.

The Harv is the dad of Pickle- my best friend of thirty years. The Harv was a great dude. The Harv was driving a teal jeep Cherokee the first time I heard Tracy Chapman’s 1988 Fast Car album.