Wednesday, August 12, 2009

With lines untied....

Yesteday morning I got up before the sun to bring the oldest to the airport for an early flight. He needed to be home by his afternoon lifeguarding shift.

When I got back to my parents' house it was still early, so I went for a walk. The day before, I'd gone down to the creek with a friend to walk in the woods, and it was lovely. I thought about heading down there again, but then I looked down the block, why not? I could walk right in the neighborhood, right from the house.

This is the house that my parent's bought in 1967, a few months before I was born. It's where I lived for my first 18 years. It's the house I came home to after I was born, the house I left from to be married, the house that holds so much.

I walked the route I took as a child to and from elementary school every day. We neighbor kids walked a half mile there and back, snow, sun, rain. My mom worked, there was no ride to be had. Over those seven years, Kindergarten through sixth grade, I walked this route and day dreamed held long internal dialogues--it was the meditation of my childhood.

So I set out in the pink light, the air already full of what would become a sultry summer day. As I walked past houses, I could see the people who had lived there, see the front room, see the tv room, the family room, the unfinished basement. Images flashed before my eyes.

Here was where the girl who gave me the big doll lived; they had a game shelf downstairs. Here was the house with the poodle where I'd go and sit with my friend while her parents were at Swedish Dancing and we'd watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island and eat too much candy. Here was the house that had the house fire when I was five, I remember seeing the smoke pouring out of that back door. Here's the house that they built after they took out my little woods, and where I spent weeks and weeks playing the same monopoly game with my friend--we had to invent a check writing system to keep playing.

I walked past, surprised that people were watering flowers in the yard. This isn't a house where people live, it's a house where the past happened.

The elementary school I went to is long gone, but it's grounds are the same. The hill we were playing on when the tornado sirens went off, the warming house we would huddle in between ice skating stints on cold, cold nights. The sidewalks, the same ones we walked.

I'm in a funny spot; my middle son just back from his "leaving childhood behind" Coming of Age trip, my oldest turing 18, youngest turning 13. It's a turning point. A time to stop and notice things a little.

This is the song that went through my head as I walked. My father is still alive, thankfully, but the rest fits. Where is this place trying to take me?

Slipping Through My Fist
by David Wilcox

It is downhill all the way to the ocean,
so of course the river always wants to flow.
The river's been here longer,
it's older and stronger and knows where to go,

and I was wondering where the river's
trying to take me
overnight, if I never did resist,
what strange breezes make a sailor want to
let it come to this,
with lines untied, slipping through my fist.

This is where I played as a baby.
This is where I ran as a child.
This is where my dad took the last breath he had,
and smiled.

I guess I'm wondering
where this place is trying to take me
overnight, if I never did resist, and
what strange breezes make a sailor want to
let it come to this,
with lines untied, slipping through my fist.

(Used with permission)

Really, I thought this was supposed to be HIS Coming of Age Journey, not mine. Guess you just never know, you just never know.

1 comment:

flyraeven said...

This brought tears to my eyes as I read about this journey you are on. It is familiar to situations in my life right now. Thank you for sharing.