Ships glide by in a veil of fog. The wind whips the lake into a fury, a white frothing rage, and it crashes into the blue-black rocks again and again, with the repetitive futility of a child's tantrum. The Ojibwa, the Voyageurs, the robber barons, the Scandinavian socialists, all bore witness to the pounding surf, all came here, all made their home upon these shores. I pick up the threads they laid down. I gather their rice, I trap their furs, I mine their iron and I load their ships. I am those who passed before me, just as they are me. This is my identity.
Identity is chosen, self selected. It is something that we construct around us, a way we rationalize ourselves to the outside world and to our own probing thoughts. It is a shorthand version of the messy essence of who we are on the inside, but it does not define us. The lines our identity draws do not constrain us; we are free to reinvent ourselves as we see fit. Our lives are clay that we have yet to mold: Let us do so with deliberate care.
In our September issue, InTheFray features an essay by Saransh Sehgal titled Dreaming Lhasa that looks at how Tibetan refugees build new lives in Dharamsala, India. Jasmine Rain H. also shares 4 poems in Snapshots: seasons frame life and emotion.
As you daily determine who it is you will be and who it is you are, consider allowing the past to be your guide. There is strength in the humanity that has passed before us, and there is wisdom in the elders that remain among us.