How Hank wanted to make blueberry muffins, and did. The donuts Craig left with a note. How good the coffee was, and the sweet sisterhood carved over just a few hours. Showing Maude off before departure. The perfect morning temperature. A short drive to Malvern and the Art Church. How a man named Zack Jones had a vision and followed it through. How little acts of creative rebellion are happening all over the world, and the luck I feel in experiencing in a place I wouldn't have expected. Bicycle artwork everywhere we look, like a kind of confirmation. Like joy.
The gift of Iowa greenness. Rolling fields. An abundance of trees. The beauty of a silo rising in the distance. Vintage buses. Signs from another era. Five cent cigars. The town honor roll rolled out on brick. A pizza lunch in Johnny Carson's birthplace. Paved roads, few and far between, and how the map doesn't distinguish. How we found ourselves on a dirt track. Steering the ship. Holding on. A doe springing out of the corn. The pristine absence of cars. Gratitude for a sturdy bicycle. How in the bump and tousle we lost the bag of tools, spare tubes, fizzy tablets. How the roads felt endless, and the climbs like comedy.
Arrival at last, in Creston. Sarah's jubliant welcome. Mayor Woods's handshake. "Fol-low Me to Po-Et-Ry." An open mic. Teenage duets. Poems that try to make sense of things. Cece's word. Brian's typewriter, his curly mustache. A cup of ice water with two straws. A new library.
The chalk wall. Before I die. The private and public answer. Driving back to the party. Homegrown Hamburgers on the grill. An unexpectedly delicious barley salad from Jan. Carl like a history book. Stories of trains. Craft beer in tall bottles. The town controversy. Sarah's almost-blog. The Rabbit Show. When people come back to the town they grew up in. When people come to live in a town they never expected. And we, the funny little threesome coming through, gathering it all up in delirious helpings.
Amy says . . .
Amy Maya Stef. Three different women. Three different skill sets. We carry three different pieces of the journey. We have three different perspectives. I love that we all bring something equally important to the table. I love that we each see the world through our own lens and each take responsibility for a piece of the pie. We are (mostly) two extroverted and one introverted women. We are (mostly) two slightly more scatterbrained and one slightly more organized women. We are (mostly) all three easy-going, roll-with-the-flow women.
Some days it's easier than others. Some days the road feels bumpier, rockier, and one of us feels more fragile than the others. Or all of us feel fragile. Some days the road feels light and easy and we are all riding high on the puffy white clouds that travel above us in the Iowa skies. But either way, I dont' think any of us every lose sight of the fact that we are creating something amazing out here on the road. We are learning and growing and pushing ourselves in ways we couldn't have imagined. We are in it.
And "it" is the act of manifesting our dreams. "It" is showing up. "It" is building community. "It" is demonstrating to other people that they can do the same. "It" is reaching out and reaching back. Answering a call. Shaking it off when we fall. "It" is the act of creating. Every day. Creating a life.