i want to write about the process of holding these pieces in my hands and the grandmother they came from yesterday. but it’s too intimate just yet.
since purchasing this home three years ago i have constructed many mental diagrams of where to lovingly display some of the sentimental items from generations past. i haven’t settled on one to suit maintaining the items as we wait to give them to our daughters. perhaps i need to look to the personality of the individuals they came from and use that to inform my display framework.
another idea i am thinking on is a flexible display that i can use to help teach the girls about our family members as a tangible history project. they are naturally curious and motivated to discover the stories of great-grandparents and others they did not have the chance to know.
i took my lovely L to the mall this morning. i have not been to one for many months. do you remember the thrill that accompanied a trip to the mall as you were coming of age? among the peers in our small town, it was a source of high culture (we thought) as buying clothes there would reveal our identities to a cruel world (until the treasure hunt of thrift store shopping was discovered) and finally take us to new heights of cosmopolitan living revealed in glimpses of Vogue and Seventeen (not easily achieved in the few stores nearby). did city kids have the same feelings on the mall experience?
upon reaching my later twenties, thoughts of the mall meant nostalgia and laughter at my own short-sighted and naive perspective. in particular, recalling how in my girlhood i would cry the entire car ride home when i hadn’t gotten what i thought was enough or deserved! (i am still guilty of these “it’s not fair moments!” now and then.)
today i sat on a bench with a few rare moments to watch passersby. there were parents on dates with their children (like me) and women whose bodies showed the proof of years of caring for their families (also, like me) and awkward teenagers trying to fit in the adult world around them. i saw two ladies with face lifts, one fellow with triumphant eighties rocker hair, and countless women that forget to put themselves in the rotation of care each day (i fight this undertow daily). i wonder what a visit to the mall was providing each of them on this day.
for my lovely L it was a perfectly thrilling first ride on the escalator (which became six perfectly thrilling rides in all) just like Corduroy. happily, we didn’t see him there since he had already found a perfectly happy home with the little girl named lisa.
this morning before we left i felt very much like Corduroy. thankfully, i had my own little girl to bring me back to where my true home should be — a place of perfect, immaterial joy. (i am graciously humbled.)
when i was a little girl i loved to explore and hide in the woods surrounding our housing plan. the journey to them began with making my way down the tar-bubbled roads until reaching freshly tilled fields. these were a tricky exercise each time as they required trying to find a balancing rhythm atop the deep grooves with my sneaker-shod feet. there were narrow creeks to cross through leading to the bold sense of bravery swelling as the icy water ballooned through my shoe seams. and finally, the magical entrance into the tangle that was soothing and haunting.
after hitting empty logs with sticks to remove rotting bark. or standing as long as i could with my head fully tilted back to try to unlock the sensation of light splattering through giant trees. it would be time to play my favorite part of this game i engaged in with my solitary self playmate. i would find a spot to hover and be tucked in at the needle-blanketed base of a pine to imagine if i could stay forever. i would move through the points in my mind of how i could subsist and be sheltered. as i grew a bit older, the narratives would come to include wondering if i would be missed and for how long. i was quite intoxicated by the distilled sense of being isolated, a lulling sense produced by twigs cracking, birds calling and the breeze that made the leaves brush against themselves.
my girls are not me. i am aware that they each have a girl inside them that will find a secluded spot in childhood they will return to that i’ll likely never know until they are grown. sometimes i think i catch them in the act of being lost with their lonely playmate selves. it reminds me that my role to care and give means also protecting that those adventures can be made. i can watch closely, i can intercede if it seems their woods are luring them too far away.
today i have come to visit some woods near my home. this time i am sitting in a clearing and listening to count the bird calls. i am watching the bugs working among some stonework around me. there are grasses and weeds struggling to take over the planned nature along this path. my present joy is to sit and admire that which is not a woman, that which has no drive to analyze intentions. it simply does. i don’t truly fit here and can’t stay, but it is soothing to pretend.