Early last month I was digging through the maps looking for inspiring collage material when I found a Hammond Traditional Map of the United States. I decided to tape it to my kitchen wall.
When I was Miss Kuntz’s fourth grade class at Northwestern Elementary in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania I sat next to my friend Debbie. For two nine-year-old girls, Debbie and I had big dreams. If we weren’t going to be President of the United States, then we at least wanted to be the first women astronauts. Failing that, I wanted to draw maps.
It was a short-lived phase. By the time I was twelve I dreamed of folk singing stardom and by high school I was going to be a history teacher or maybe even a doctor.
At eighteen I married Bob instead. I studied art and secondary education, which seemed more suitable choices for a mid-western housewife. But the marriage lasted less than a moment. On my twentieth birthday I boarded a bus in McCook, Nebraska and headed four hours east. Alone.
Maps still fascinate me. I love looking at the names of towns and wondering about the people who live there. I love tracing my finger over the places I’ve been and wondering if I’ll ever return.
Last week I stood back and began to connect the dots. From Fairbanks, Alaska to Killeen, Texas to Lynnport, Pennsylvania. My eyes followed a trail to all the places I’ve lived.
I couldn’t stop. I found string and used it to create a geographic cats cradle – my very own constellation. An energetic imprint of over half a century of experience.
What does your constellation look like?