It's not that I don't know what small towns are like.
I do. Despite my paripatetic upbringing, I graduated from high school, and then undergraduate school, from tiny, tiny towns.
There were 72 people in my high school graduating class.
So I know what it's like. And I know how it works.
But every day, when I drive the 45 minutes from Pullman to the valley for work, I largely, mostly, almost every day, feel like I've fallen down the rabbit hole. Is it traveling from the fertile fields of the Palouse down into the paper mill dirt-scape by the Snake River? Is it the way that the sun rises and sets in wildfire haze that makes me think of the landscape from "The Road"?
(ok... Maybe not quite that desolate ...)
Is it the work?
Is it because I am an adult mental health therapist, but because I am working in Community Outpatient Mental health, I work from the ground up? (Think Maslow's hierarchy of needs ... how can we work on self actualization when we don't have food ... or shelter ... or season appropriate clothing ...)
Is it because I was told that I almost wasn't hired because nobody had heard of me or my family? (I've been skating on Shoes' last name, it turns out ...)
Is it because I'm no longer part of a therapeutic team that shares their hearts about anti oppressive practice and a team that actively practices naming gratitude?
Is it because there are no more vegan bakeries by my office, like there are in Portland?
It's good. It's good work. It's vital work. I love the work.
(Because I love the people.)
Shoes, on the phone to his brother yesterday, said, "She's liking it a lot. I think she's having to adjust to the culture of the valley, though."
I am, dear heart. It's not bad. It is different.
I'm still looking for my own Cheshire cat ... the being who speaks in riddles, but it actually lighting my path.
This is a strange rabbit hole, indeed.