Then Jacob went on his journey,
and came into the land of the people of the east.
Literally — "Then Jacob lifted up his feet."
As he begins his journey of 400 miles the sun sets.
Jacob not only leaves his geographic home, but he also leaves his parents. His journey is one of exile from what is familiar.
That's the rub. Trade the neighborhood for a new location and uncertainty.
When I moved from Maryland and a tight knit community to Sudbury, Massachusetts, I left behind a hillside of azaleas, a neighbor who introduced me to Flannery O'Connor, southern literature, and an accent straight from the Mississippi Delta—a neighbor who baked the best sponge cake and loved Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles. We all belonged to a book club that met once a month and had an iron clad rule—Talking About Your Offspring was Forbidden.
It was in that Maryland neighborhood that I discovered myself.
The moving van arrived in Sudbury, Massachusetts in the middle of a snow storm. Was that a metaphor for my change of location?
A large, cold house—a distance away from the next house might look pretty in a brochure, but I missed the close proximity of the houses in Maryland.
"And Jacob looked, and saw a well in the field;
and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it;
for out of the well they watered the flocks."
My well was a bookstore in Cambridge—New Words: A Women's Bookstore. I found it by accident, but I became a regular visitor. Where else could I find books by women about women? Where else could I listen to radical feminists spar with more conservative feminists?
I became friends with one of the owners of New Words and we talked books. She was a fan of British mysteries as well as a font of information on Women's Studies and Victorian women writers.
It was on their bulletin board that I found an ad for a poetry workshop taught by Robin Becker. At that time she taught at MIT. Our writing group included a woman who taught astrophysics at MIT, as well as a manicurist who worked in Cambridge. Once a week I drove down into the depths of Somerville— initially getting lost.
When I walked in the door of New Words I was nourished and fed.