17 September 2014

- the weight of a memory -

I was blown away a couple of weekends ago when I stumbled upon this clunky old relic from my childhood - it was sitting by itself in the corner of someone's front lawn at their garage sale. 

An out-of-place souvenir from my past that literally took my breath away and in that same split-second - it took me, home again. 

I stood there staring at it for such a long time and eventually two men wandered up behind me to look at it.  When they spoke they broke the spell but by then I had fallen madly in love with this old scale and I just knew that I was not going to let it go because for whatever reason, this piece, this old scale had instantly become a touchstone of my deepest and earliest 'home again' memories. 

With only $5 in my pocket and the scale sporting a much larger price ticket I was frantic to leave it limbo and unprotected (because who wouldn't want this tiresome old thing, right!) so I tracked down the owners and told them I would buy it if they could hold it for me while I left left to gather some cash and a husband to pack it home and they did.  

I am beyond thrilled because now every single time I look at this old scale - I am free to go 'home again'.

Home again  is the place where I keep all my memories.  I never really leave a home, I take it with me and carry it in my heart where it becomes, over time, simply a photobox, a place for me to store, catalog and organize all my memories.  It becomes my home again box.

I think we all have, many different, home again boxes ...

  • My homeland, the country of my birth.  It is not geography or a place - it is a culture, a way of life, a way of living, it is my past, my Canada.
  • My house - home - it is  where I currently lay my head down to sleep in every night, the place where my garden grows and where my heart & my love currently live.
  • And true north, my childhood home again, the place where I grew up.  A rich patch of earth where all my childhood & early family memories still row strong year after year.  Some memories sprout up - a row after row of onions in a field - growing in straight, perfect lines, a well ordered patch while other memories grow wild & messy - a patch of tangled, overgrown noxious weeds in a twisted wreck of love & hate that always sends my emotions spinning out of control and yet it is the only place on earth I want to spend eternity. 

I have sat and stared at this old scale many times now over the last couple of weeks curious to know why it seems to bring back only good memories!  Never bad or ambivalent ones - just good ones.

But, in the end, I guess it doesn't really matter why, only that it does and that it now lives with me at my current home again.

I think memories are trapdoors sometimes, you start out reminiscing about one thing and fall into a nightmare or visa-versa but, as I said, this scale only seems to bring me only good thoughts and smiles.  It brings me peace and playing with it, touching the weights, changing them and watching them swing until still is almost hypnotic and I start to think, I can still ...

" remember the feelings of overwhelming pride, and accomplishment I felt when I was finally able to drag a 100 lb burlap bag of potatoes over to the scale by myself, hoist it up, weight it, sew it closed with a giant needle and binder twine  - not too loose, no blood and sporting two PERFECT little same-sized ears (mine were usually lopsided).  

Nobody ever said, good job, well done or great work but I knew.  I grew up learning how to pat myself on the back, to be my own strongest and best supporter so that when someone would come up behind me and interrupt my moment of glory by shouting 'What the hell is going on here, what's the hold up, keep moving, you're slowing down the line" it really won't bother me much because I could always find my own satisfaction in knowing I had done a good job and while it may sound harsh it is a life lesson I've always appreciated."

Funny the things you remember & funnier still is what can bring that memory back to life.

Funny what once might have brought you tears now just brings you a smile! 

Hope you have find some good memories along the way today.

Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere. 
 - Glinda, the Wizard of Oz  -

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07 September 2014

- a chill in the air -

I woke this morning to a sliver of sunshine creeping in the window through a crack in the curtains.   I smiled to myself knowing that today, at last, we could be friends because like a houseguest who has long overstayed their welcome - I know you will soon be leaving.

It is time for the seasons to change, for the days to shorten, the rains to begin and the air to finally cool - Autumn.

Autumn is a like a breath of fresh air - I welcome Autumn with open arms.  I always feel safe & cozy wrapped up tight in its shawl of morning fog and gray skies.  I will not be weary of it's drab colors and relentless rain for many, many weeks.  

As the days begin to cool - I will meet the fall garden armed with a trowel and coffee.  I know I have been neglectful but I will make it right and I will not once complain about the chill or the wet.  I will enjoy every dirty minute it.

The fall garden, not to be outdone by summer, has already begun to put on it's seasonal show; look upward or down deep amid the spent vines, weeds, or cold dirt and you will soon see a rainbow of pumpkin orange, butter yellow, fire engine red & shades of earth brown.  The colors of the fall gardens.   I love them all.

As my MS has progressed it has made summer in the garden almost intolerable due to the heat.  MS has  resulted in my body being unable to properly regulate its temperature.   The heat summer sun makes gardening very difficult and so I have learned to just be PATIENT and wait for fall to arrive.

I suppose I enjoy everything about Fall - I love seeing every breath I take,  the sight & sound of geese flying overhead on their way south, the sound of crunching leaves underfoot and the cool crisp air.  But what I love best of all about fall ... is the smell - it smells like Harvest,  fresh dug earth.  It smells like the farm.

I love to garden for many reasons but I think the greatest reasons of all is that for me, gardening is a living, breathing slideshow of my childhood, it is the caretaker of my past.

Cold, stiff, wet dirty fingers always open a floodgate of memories for me - not all of them good but all them are cherished and welcome. Mine to love, hate, enjoy, despise or eulogize as I wish, they are mine and mine alone.

So here's to fall in the garden, a chill in the air and childhood memories.

'We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.' 
- George Eliot -

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