Feature Friday - Lydia Cruz
What is your full name and where are you from?
Lydia Katherine Cruz, Greeley Colorado
In your own creative definition or description, please share who you are :::
1) a girl, first generation mainland American (father from Puerto Rico) and second generation college (mother first in her family, grandmother/grandfather first generation high school), elder sister to one brother, of average height.
2) a person born to a low income family and who is afforded particularly magical
opportunities, for example in regards to education, that far exceed what is normally
available to people of her station
3) a decided homebody, one for whom nearly all activities, even those seen as enjoyable,
require energy rather than give it
4) a person who struggles with both mental and physical illness, but tries to do her best
5) a person for whom more joy can be found in a single phrase than the book in totality
1) describing a proclivity for patterns, particularly imagery in literature, a natural inclination towards sports of all kinds, and a penchant for words that begins in very early childhood
2) describing a person with short hair and glasses who is told she looks just like all kinds of
other people who have short hair and glasses, but whom she does not actually resemble
at all eg Ellen DeGeneres
3) describing a distinct enjoyment of films, milkglass, dogs, special drinks, paper, and garlic
4) describing a fear of failure and/or abandonment
5) describing a tendency to be accidentally longwinded
Please describe a meaningful experience in nature from your childhood :::
This is a short essay I wrote my first year of college and describes a moment in the Canadian
side of Glacier National Park just outside Waterton Townsite:
Alongside the lake of glass, low waves reach for the inner shore with foamy fingers. They swirl around our icy ankles and sink inside, the chill working its way up until our teeth begin to chatter. Still, we push forward until our knees feel the chilling splash and we let out whoops of invigorated joy. Our feet are bare and they slide suddenly down rocks and into shallow holes. We push until the cuffs of our rolled up jeans change color. The mountains rise up around us, no closer than they were from the shore, sharpened parents of the unsteady stones below us. The breeze, enough to push our shirtsleeves into our arms, fills our lungs as with a revelation. Our chests rise and fall, moving nothing but ourselves. When we return to the shore, after our legs have numbed and the chill has all but gone, the sky remains an iron arch above our heads, the water a steely mirror.
What role, significance or theme does the natural world hold for your life today?
I suppose it could be described as fragmentary, details that create a mosaic of a whole. I do not feel the need to be in the mountains as strongly as many Coloradans, but rather need only to be near them. Until I moved to New York for college, I spent my life with mountains to my west which instilled an anchored inner compass that I never had need to question. I found my New York self always turned around, feeling sure I was traveling uptown when I knew I was in fact traveling downtown. There was a palpable relief when I returned to Greeley and could live once again with that familiar jagged horizon and I easily picked up the natural inner compass from my childhood. I find that I need that big overturned bowl of sky, fields of knee high by the fourth of July corn, endless prairie, and distant snowcaps. I can do without them for a time, can replace them with the coastal shores of Scotland and a cold air ocean that both frightened and mesmerized me, but even then, stumbling upon a Scottish farmer’s field brought an instant and distinct feeling of home and the ground from which I was sown. The crustcrack of refrozen snow and the shrill whistle and howl of powerful wind will always remind me of being a child in Laramie. In rainbow country, where the arch and promise seem fully realized and where the end does exist (I have seen it, in the foothills near the highest point on I-80, stripes of colored evergreens right down to the ground). One of my favorite places to be is walking the road the moment the wind whoops and roars, rearing up on its hind legs and heralding a coming storm. It is God and the Earth’s power in that moment before the thunder and rain, the caesura. I’m a scavenger by nature (most often to be found in thrift stores and estate sales) and now find much delight in pursuits of urban foraging, having my particular spots for mulberries, pears, apricots,
and for one glorious year goji berries. Friends open up their yards to contribute blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and apples. And then there is the moon. I find kinship in the quiet light, reflected rather than generated and it’s pull on the waves far below it. It is good to be reminded of the light I reflect and its effect on the ebbs and flows of my own emotional tides. I have a tattoo of the phases that circles my upper forearm, the full moon facing me whenever I look down at my arm, to remind me that there are times of full light at the end of the dark night.
See more of Lydia’s work on Instagram