THE FIELD GUIDE PROJECT
WORDS: NICOLE STANTON
IMAGE: WILL RUSSACK
Last winter Kate was making a collaborative field guide of our small Connecticut campus. She asked me to write about one place at Wesleyan. One place that held some sort of meaning. What a gift, this request was. She got my mind reeling, now walking to class and tracing over each staircase and tree trunk, placing my past self there, remembering what it felt like to do this and think that. What it was to be in love with that boy on that bench, or to call a friend from that window sill in that house. I came up with this for her, after wading through four years of memory:
spot: benches outside of olin, specifically the one on the right as you face the library
where I sat and felt sun heat break the coldest winter
where he listened to me imagine myself for the first time
where hurt pressed against my sternum as he touched his ex-girlfriend’s thigh
where we agreed we will never grow trees
where she and I sat and ate cold macaroni and asked each other to wonder
where my mother called and told me she was lost
where I lie in the shade to watch buds break through tips of branches
I imagined as well the layers and layers of endless memory associated with that bench outside of the library. How many people's experiences belonged to the bench where I felt what it was to be human -- to feel loved, lost, heart broken, hopeful. Field guides have the ability to create an intimate connection between humans and the places we occupy. They help us more aptly navigate the new, the unknown, mooring us to one author's experience of living.
We are pretty dang thrilled to announce The Field Guide Project. Loam will publish field guides of any genre, of any place, as often as we can. Please, submit. We want your work, we want to know what it is to be you, in your moment, in your place.