I need to forget where I take shelter being a little too comfortable in my reclining chair day after day upon returning home from work. Here I read, socialize and most sadly this is where I eat. Thinking about how to improve my health are first steps, written plans and action being the next phase.
There is a restlessness I feel. Uncertain whether it is the change of season or the fact that this time of year always seems to unearth projects like knitting, freshening up the interior of the house or tackling stacks of books or writing that novel. I become a tad anxious and overwhelmed, but immersion in nature, I believe will stimulate self-truth, upright the ship for a voyage to face whatever lies ahead in this journey.
Innately, I feel like running out into the wilderness of my backyard, touching every living surface particularly noting the sights, smells and feeling of nature. I wish to see the light of the sun through the paper thin bark of a white birch, the loose end unwrapped and flapping softly to mark a passing breeze. I wish to feel the cold under my bare feet as I race on a whim to the garden where the towering sunflower skeletons, hollowed and lifeless stand ready to catch the snow with petals shriveled and the color of creamy coffee. This is not the way one writer should experience life-sedentary from the arm of a chair, living life vicariously. I need to get up, out and move.
We walked everywhere and when we were not able to make the journey on foot, we would hop on public transportation. Later, when I was older, I rode my bike miles and miles to a friend's house in Saco or a longer distance to Fortune's Rocks near Biddeford Pool. It took me so long to ride my three speed up and down the hills to the beach that I was not able to stay, but for a quick bare-footed walk on the sand, until I had to turn around and head home before it got dark.
When I visit home, I feel much like I did during those early journeys on my bike. It takes so long to get home, I am never able to linger, explore all the crooks and crannies to recall details of my past life in Biddeford. Not having lived there in over three decades now, the changes make it hard to remember. The big historic tree in front of my grandmother's apartment was cut down. The changes are not all bad, many once empty store fronts have new life now as restaurants have opened and my beloved city is being revitalized as a center for the arts.
When I was little, I would most often walk throughout the city with my grandmother Caroline. We would visit Butler's where extra attention was given to my grandmother's carefully wrapped in lamb skin feet. The shoe attendant would take great care in helping my grandmother get the perfect shoes with the most comfortable fit. I would walk up and down the sweeping staircase of this small department store slipping my hand down the shiny wooden banister my heels clicking on the large tiles as I landed at the bottom of the stairs. Once the shoes were purchased, my Grandmother would take me to Woolworth's a door or two down from Butler's for a whirl in the soda fountain stools while I waited for a sundae or a colossal banana split. The price was set in accordance with the small tag found inside the balloon of my choosing that hung like a bunch of bananas above our heads on each stainless steel column that lined the counter area. The draw of the colorful array of round balloons must have sold a number of banana splits each day, for while my Gram and I sat there we heard the pop of many a balloon the only way to pay for your split.
With a full belly, the walk home seemed long. Sometimes we would stop at a shop near the Thatcher Hotel where they just sold undergarments. My grandmother would pull a dark green curtain aside while a woman with a short, graying hair and a tape measure dangling from her neck would follow my grandmother. I would wait patiently until they both emerged. Everyone would talk in undertones, a parcel was quickly put into a brown paper bag and we would head for home. After a morning of running errands, my grandmother would arrange her bed for an afternoon nap. The coverlet folded down at the foot of the bed and then removed so it would not be dirty or wrinkled. I don't actually recall napping, but we would snuggle in her bed and she would listen to my hours spent with Sister Mary Natalie my first grade teacher at St. Mary's School and she would tell me of the two weeks she spent with my aunt as they traversed this great country with two little kids in the backseat. It sounds like an adventure, one that my grandmother cherished.
As I age, it is the moments spent growing up in a bustling little city in southern Maine where running ordinary day to day errands with my grandmother, buying shoes and spinning in a soda fountain chair are what I cherish. It is the slowing down and the taking time that help to forge the memories. I went cross country in a big old jet plane, but I don't remember much. Pardon the cliche: There's no place like home.
This poem is in response to my inability in remembering detail. I have forgotten the sound of my mother's voice, moments when my dying friend admitted to fear and the number of steps to my grandmother's apartment. I want to so desperately to remember everything, and as I frantically try to recall, I remember nothing. I must trust the silence.
Hues of color bleed through the darkness,
When not long ago,
Pricks of light shone,
Through black, nothingness.
Fresh memories empty into
Silence reveals the
News has gotten me on edge. Last night someone posted on Facebook that healthy dogs have been suddenly dying from a strange virus. Instead of reading it and critically determining the viability of this post or calling the vet for an official confirmation or denial of the article, I ignored it- at least until Rex sneezed on me during the night and woke me up each time. I think it is called pandemonium in my mind or maybe just plain anxiety. It was just a week ago that our Rex was rushed to the vet. He was on a bland diet and is on the tail end of antibiotic, yet he has developed new symptoms: repeatedly sneezing. Unlike last week's illness, at least Rex is exercising his tail, wanting to cuddle and has not forgotten the bad habit of begging. Hopefully, all is right with our world and that article was a hoax.