ESSAY BY J. AARON SIMMONS PHOTOS BY MANUELA THAMES
I vividly remember walking across campus that morning on my way to teach my Introduction to Philosophy course. I was roughly 20 feet from the door to the classroom building when my phone rang. It was my sister.
I answered. “Hey toots, I am heading into class. Can I call you back in an hour?”
Her response stopped me in my tracks. It was clear she had been crying. “Yeah, that’s fine,” she said. “I just wanted to tell you that [insert-the-name-of-her-asshole-husband-who-I-won’t-mention] told me he is leaving. My marriage is over.”
I lean against the stone ledge, gazing out over the city as the embers of the setting sun heat the rooftops. Behind me, the château walls glow with orange light. The bells from the magnificent cathedral spire echo in my ears. Below, college students sprawl among the spring flowers sloping away from the château, giving way to bustling streets. Even from here, my ears catch the whispers of conversations and the chatter of distant shoppers and restaurant goers. Drinking in this image, I breathe out a profound sigh of contentment. A voice in my mind murmurs, How will you ever return after experiencing this life?
Standing atop an ancient castle at sunset, it is difficult to imagine that only a few hours later I might be curled in my bed, stricken and paralyzed while clutching my head in sheer, overwhelming anxiety.
I can’t tell you how many times Megan and I have nearly tripped over a tombstone during this pandemic.
As our corgi Bentley barks to get off-leash and run through the historic Union Cemetery, it’s easy to nearly twist an ankle on a broken headstone that I could have sworn wasn’t there, even though I’ve walked this spot what seems like hundreds of times.
ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY SARAH RACINE
Over the last decade Sarah Racine has worked internationally as a trauma-informed art-maker, helping a spectrum of individuals—from victims of human trafficking to refugees—find healing from trauma, abuse, and war. Though Racine calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “home” in the U.S., she recently relocated to Amman, Jordan, to study Arabic and explore options for working long-term in the region. Racine sat with Anthrow Circus’s Jordan correspondent, Heather Surls, to talk about her profession and how the arts can bring healing and hope to adults and children affected by trauma.
TEXT BY LORE CALDWELL PHOTOGRAPHS BY ELLA MANN & RHIANNA MANN MAKEUP ARTIST & MODEL – ELLA MANN
I was one of the ones who tried to run away and join the circus. It’s true. I got on the train to New York City with my army green backpack, which held some clothes, to be sure, but more importantly, it held my sketchbook and drawing pens. My dad ran onto the train as it pulled out of the station and thwarted my efforts. He calmly sat down next to me, and we rode the train into the city together. By the time we arrived, in his gentle way, he had helped me see that this was not the best plan.