I am from orchards and soccer balls, windmills and beaches where it is too dangerous to swim;
I am from hillsides of waving white and pink blossoms and truckloads of dark-faced strangers to reap their fruit;
I am from secret hideaways earned by battle-scarred arms and legs and hair torn out by the roots yet filled with sweetness and laughter;
I am from the pine trees are a home run and the power pole marks home plate;
I am from woodsmoke-scented nights huddled on the hill beneath a blanket, cradling a thermos filled with stew, the imprint of a soccer ball still stinging on my frozen thigh;
I am from snow forts that last all winter and “better use the garage door, it’s the only one not blocked”;
I am from shoveling the farm pond and begging Santa for ice skates, toboggans and runner sleds, hot chocolate and cookies, and hand-knit hats, scarves, and mittens;
I am from hot afternoons playing kick the can and late nights playing flashlight tag, “don’t swim there because of the undertow” and “didn’t you hear a kid drowned there,” and bet you can’t swim out to the raft without drowning;
I am from popup trailers, mountain pies, campfires, and climbing a new mountain every year;
I am from chocolate molds and elaborate easter bunnies, cherry cokes, and french-fries paid for with berry picking money;
I am from the War of 1812 and the Underground Railroad, lake freighters, and Great Lakes captains.
I created a more interactive version of this poem using ThingLink. Learn more about how to write your own “Where I’m From” poem modeled on George Ella Lyon’s famous work as well as other ways to explore your origin story in writing and #JustWrite.