When I first seed Cholly, I want you to know it was like all the bits of color from that time down home when all us chil’ren went berry picking after a funeral and I put some in the pocket of my Sunday dress, and they mashed up and stained my hips. My whole dress was messed with purple, and it never did wash out. Not the dress nor me. I could feel that purple deep inside me. And that lemonade Mama used to make when Pap came in out the fields. It be cool and yellowish, with seeds floating near the bottom. And that streak of green them june bugs made on the trees the night we left from down home. All of them colors was in me. Just sitting there.
— Toni Morisson
The collect is a call to gather, and the term insists upon that gathering. We are called upon to gather, to congregate, and because it is we who are called to gather, because when we are called upon to gather, it is already assumed that we are gathered. It seems like part of what it is to gather is to think about gathering, right at the intersection of what we are and what we do. Maybe we are being asked to consider that what we are is what we do — that we are nothing other than this beautiful practice of gathering, that if we have any identity at all, it is in the first place shared, and it is in some place that might as well be before the first place, practiced.