“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

3.11.2012

the road of memories. without pictures.

in the end, i sat in the jeep outside a mexican restaurant with a bag of lavender sugar heart cookies, and read, waiting for my food, a sudden unexpected loneliness next to me there on the passenger seat.  i'd driven the afternoon away on back roads with the radio off, stopping nowhere, passing through small towns, past musicians playing for saturday supper, no thoughts, no purpose, nothing tempting me to tarry, turning back toward home only when raindrops began to plop against the windshield, but even then not heading home, turning north and east at every small intersection instead of south, pushing for that old release driving once offered.  the radio on at last, i began to sing along with every bad country song, remembering the feeling of fast summertime roads and music turned up loud, windows down, trading air conditioned air for the feel of  hot wind on my face, bare feet and no cares, that feeling of first falling in love, when he makes you laugh at every joke.  pushing towards that release, that recklessness, but unable to find it.  perhaps just the too much bad music, perhaps the chill of not yet spring, perhaps age, perhaps the last hard year, but i couldn't find it.  could feel the edges of it right against my fingertips but always i chased, never catching, and at last i gave up and turned truly homeward, van morrison on the radio.  a good song at last, full of high school memories - i sang along and then turned the volume down.

memories now next to me, i turned onto a road i never travel, the road on which my grandmother's house once stood, now an empty lot with just the beginning of her driveway remaining.  i pulled in and knew at once where her house had lived, traced in my heart the steps to my uncle's house,  remembered where the four o'clocks grew, remembered the sassafras tree near the embankment next to the road, the chinaberry tree in the backyard, remembered eating under that tree, playing under that tree.  remembered the chicken coops and fresh eggs, remembered the screened in porches and her tiny refrigerator, saw them all again through my child's eyes and laid my head on the steering wheel and cried.  the goneness of things weighs more than the things themselves ever weighed when they were here.  memories tip the scale in their direction.

and so the lavender sugar hearts to bring me back to now.  the 30 minutes in the parking lot, the escape into a  book.  a coke.  the jeep a warm womb against the chill of the day.

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12 comments:

  1. I read this. Your words. My heart hurts. For your pain. For memories that will never be whole again as they fade fade away... I am glad I live so far from where my childhood was spent. Far away enough that I can not easily sit in front of the changed homes, landscapes, remembering - feeling the sadness so near so tangible, so, changed.

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    1. karen - this reads as more pain than i felt. i'm sorry for that. it is sometimes more exhaustion than pain, but it is always another step forward, always a good thing. maybe not at that moment, but later. sitting in the jeep, my tears were gone & i felt safe. the next visit will only bring smiles. xoxo

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    2. Glad that it was more of a pleasant nostalgia then one of sadness!

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  2. I am realizing I haven't felt like that in awhile. I am so happy you are running, sitting, savoring the memories and moving forward.

    Note: I will be mentioning your blog tomorrow on my blog and how you are celebrating your birthday month with words. I am joining you in this adventure. Need to take "up" today. Savor your month, it is a special one.

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    1. marilyn - i think we just get bogged down in the day to day. i also think we can't find it if we try too hard, and that's what i was doing. (big surprise - lol!)

      and thank you in advance for the mention!!! xoxo

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  3. the driving sounds wonderful .. the memories so rich and the feel of the warmth in the jeep..I could feel each turn~~xo

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  4. in another chapter, i was a personal historian. okay, in truth, i've always been a personal historian. so yes, i love this post. and note that lavender cookies make the best bread crumbs leading you into and out of the forrest. you're right about memories - they're wispy things that scoot at the hint of being held too tightly. but catch a whiff of an apple pie or a measure of Beer Barrel Polka or a glimpse of a daffodil, and they come flooding back in such a rush it feels like you're sipping water out of a fire hose. you know one of the things i use successfully most often is to ask people to sketch out the floorplan of the house they grew up in (could be a childhood home, a grandparent's home, the first house they owned - wherever they felt they "grew up"). then we go room by room as they tell me who's in the room, the sounds they hear, the smells that greet them, etc. it's such an honor. always. always.

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  5. the thing that draws me to your blog is this: your soul paints pictures my soul can live and comprehend.
    the thing that draws me to your blog is this: pure heart.

    you creative, you: i love the stories you tell to my soul.

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  6. i read this on my phone last night on the bus on the way home in the dark.
    i felt the pieces falling into place, felt the feeling that couldn't be caught, felt the weight of the goneness in my hands, felt the sadness and the tears and the now.

    you never need pictures, only words. i can always see it.

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  7. You paint a picture with those words, of a place and a space I know.
    From the music to the book and all along the open road...
    ~humming~
    With a heartfelt nod of gratitude...

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  8. Dear Heart,
    I live in my home town and see the changes (that you write about so beautifully) - some things are lost and others are still there - both stir memories and feelings and give me a sense of place, a sense of spirit.
    I always thought things would stay the same forever. . . I don't know why it surprises me that they don't. Life is change and I know that, but I want the old familiar. I am going to be 60 this year and have seen more change than I ever imagined.
    Thank you for writing so eloquently and poignantly.
    ~Pamela

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  9. No pictures needed. It's all right there in my mind's eye, in that part of my imagination reserved just for your stories.

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come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .