Feeling East by Gayle Brandeis | Wednesday, November 01, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

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I used to think East
was wherever I pointed my right
hand. I was six, my body
the center of space, the axis
on which directions turned.
When I learned directions
are fixed, that our bodies
move through space
like fish, East became
the sunrise, but, even more so,
the lake. Around Chicago, Lake
Michigan is what is East,
and my body could always feel
its presence. Riding home
from the city, dozing
in the back seat, I always knew
where we were.

Living out West now, I find
directions hazy as smog. My right
hand points to mountains, to palms,
but their presence looms light
in my body. When I get lost,
and I do, I close my eyes
and try to feel East,
tracing sharp shores of memory,
the pull of the lake in my blood,
following the three right turns home.

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