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Work That Builds a Sense of Home

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Aside from the financial insecurity, the new home must have involved a deeper emotional shift. In your long poem, "The One Day," there's a passage that reads:

The one day recalls us to hills and meadows, to moss, roses, dirt, apples, and the breathing of timothy - away from the yellow chair, from blue smoke and daydream. Leave behind appointments listed on the printout! Leave behind manila envelopes! Leave dark suits behind, boarding passes, and souffles at the chancellor's house!

Tell me about the interior change you must have felt.

Absolutely.... When I lived in Ann Arbor, my sense of time was so different from what it became here.... I was never content in the present that I lived in. Most of the time I remember thinking, "well, in just another year and a half, maybe I can take a year off and go to England," or I can do this and that. You know, there are so many people who live for retirement. "Five years from now ... , then I can retire and go where I want." One of the most important things of my life was the early death of my fa ther who had worked at a job that he did not love, and who planned to retire - and then died at 55. This is a common American story, probably a common human story, but I was determined it should not happen to me. When I lived here less than a year, I realized suddenly that I was living in the present for the first time of my life.... That I got up in the morning and I sniffed the wind and I saw where the sun was and I looked at things and I got to work - and I lived in that moment. And if I looked forward, it was looking forward to waking up to the next day. It wasn't looking forward to some trip I was going to make six months from now or some career change 10 years from now. I was where I wanted to be. This was an extraordinary change. ... It led to the biggest inward change. It was that sense of time. And of course, that's another way of speaking of happiness. Curiously, or frustratingly, the greatest happiness is not to know you are happy, is not to know what time it is, is to be lost in the hour....

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