Driving from Carbondale, Illinois, six hours south of Chicago, to the place where I’m staying in the country, I ask the person driving me, who taught at Southern Illinois University for 30 years, if most of the students come from the surrounding areas, and she says no, most of them come from Chicago. She says they’re trying to get as far away as possible from their parents, while still paying in-state tuition.
We drive through a state park, so many trees in the dark in the air. When we arrive, coyotes are competing with crickets and maybe cicadas, something buzzing and oh, look up, so many stars, I’ve never seen so many stars, not even in Santa Fe. In the morning, I step outside and there are butterflies flying all over my arms, monarch butterflies on the butterfly bush in front of the house, I’ve never seen so many butterflies at once — they love purple, and I love purple.