A Last & First Look at the Star City: Day Forty

(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city.  Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge:  each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place.  And then I’m going to tell you about it.  If you want to follow my journey, start here.  Today is Day Forty). 


This morning, Thomas and I climbed in the Volvo, drove to the top of Mill Mountain, and stood on the overlook with all the other out-of-towners.

I shot photo after photo of my city unfurled beneath me, just like they did.

I wanted to see this place from above:


And then we got back in the car, followed the dips and curves of Walnut Avenue into downtown.

We hiked up the staircase in the Center in the Square building.  We took the elevator up to the rooftop overlook.  And I stood there with my body pressed to the railing, taking in the train speeding past the Taubman Museum, the afternoon sun winking off the top of the Wells Fargo building.

Because also, I wanted to see this place from within.

I guess that’s what these last 40 days have been about.


If I’m honest, I feel like I’ve been living in a dark garret bedroom for the longest time, and someone has boarded over all the skylights.

And maybe that person was me.

But now I’m hauling the ladder to the center of the room; I’m climbing the rungs; I’m lifting the crowbar.

And at first pressure, nothing gives.  But I angle the bar in harder; I use my whole body for leverage.

Put your back into it, kid.

And suddenly I can feel the creak of the nails coming loose; suddenly there is a splintering crack and the wood falls away — a clatter of boards and dirty gray light flooding the room; dust spinning in the beams.

I take a breath, unsure of myself.

I unlatch the skylight.

I pull myself up to the roof.

I stand, pale and soft-bodied, blinking in the blinding light…


Maybe this is where gratitude begins.


  1. I think I must have been told too many times that I am ungrateful because I find a huge resistance towards that word; I find I reject the mere sight of it… weird huh! But it only really hit home upon reading your last sentence here. So I decided to check on synonyms: thankfulness, recognition, obligation, appreciation, indebtedness. I realise all these words have a negative connotation for me! Oh dear! I am going to have to do something about that! Any ideas?


    1. I’m a person who’s built my life around words, so I know better than most how slippery they can be — fraught with all kinds of personal associations that are invisible to everyone but the reader (that, after all, is what connotation is all about).

      For me, gratitude is simply the intentional act of seeing the good in something (without whitewashing or ignoring the bad), and then finding a way to express it. I don’t see it as an obligation or a societal expectation — just a personal choice that makes me happy. 🙂

      I say, use any word that works for you!! 🙂 Maybe if gratitude doesn’t work, it’s enjoyment. Revelry. Wonder.

      Maybe it’s enough to go out and find loveliness in the day and share it, one way or another, with the world. Which I think you do. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been blogging for three years. It literally has changed my life. After blogging for a year or so, I moved home to Baton Rouge. I, like you, feel like I don’t belong here. In fact, I’ve written about how I hate it here. But, I’m trying to accept this city as she is and learn what I need to learn from being here. I’ve tried to get out and get a job elsewhere, but I’m supposed to be here, I guess. Nothing is moving for me. So, today, I ran across your blog. I’m going to steal your idea and feature you in my blog today. I’m going to take 40 days to write about and/or take pictures of things I love about this city. I have a feeling it will challenge me on some fronts. Thank you for inspiring me. I love the body image project, too. But, this one speaks to me first! Thank you!

    I’ll post a link to today’s blog when I’m finished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this!! You made my day.

      Things really do get better with time. Every day I am *astounded* by the good people I’ve met and the fun things I get to do. Sometimes it’s just a matter of going out and finding the beauty… Which I know that you will.

      Any heart desperate and open enough to go looking for goodness is more than ready to meet it. Can’t wait to see what happens for you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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