Tag Archives: memories

As it Exists in our Minds

They say you can’t go back. Or perhaps you shouldn’t. But sometimes it’s inevitable.

Steely Dan Radio on Pandora. That’ll do it for me. A tinge of past immediately starts flowing through the neurons and blood stream. Back to childhood days in my dad’s mustard El Camino or hunched over the Fischer-Price record player with my brother.  Back to teenage days, cycling through songs on random play from the new CD player. Back to college days, blasting out the sub woofers in my ’87 Nissan Sentra. And about a hundred other memories involving a Steely Dan song.

Whether you want it to or not, music will take you back.

There are those songs you can’t bear to hear. Either they bring back a dark memory or someone you’d rather not keep in your consciousness. Those we turn off as soon as we can, if possible. Or perhaps we need a good cry out and we let it rip.

Then there are those songs that fire up our frontal lobe like fourth of July sparklers and we are transported to a time and place no longer existing. Even if our childhood homes are still intact, or the city in which we grew up, it is never the same.

I guess that’s why they say you can never go back. Because no matter how bad we may want it to be there, it is gone.

And that is one of the many beauties of music– enabling us to hold onto a moment as if we were right there. Right there in our dad’s old car. Right there on the front porch with the Walk-man. Right there in the school parking lot with our quirky friends. Right there dancing with Grandma. Or and old friend. Or an old flame. Those that have moved on or passed away. In this moment they are alive.

And this is why I play Steely Dan on Sunday morning. So I won’t forget.

El Camino

 

 

 

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Filed under Observations, Yep I'm Becoming My Mother

For Today

When we clothe ourselves in the past
we are suffocating our future
like a wool scarf wrapped around the neck
during a long, stifling summer

These photographs on the wall
a reminder of all we have worked for
all we have accomplished
the adventures and the love

I could cry like I did yesterday
and long for the good times
the beginning of a journey
that would indefinitely change its course

I could enshroud myself in regret
and guilt and longing
like I have many times
looking through the cracked mirror

But then I am not breathing
am not truly living
So I must inhale the air of the present
nod to those smiling photographs

Know I have done good in this life
and there is much more to do
unravel the woolen suppression
unbound by the virtue of today’s truth.

 

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Filed under Sunday Night Sonnet

When the Sea was Calm

When the sea was calm
I was restless
awaiting the flip
of a mermaid’s tail

And when it did not
come into view
I closed my eyes and
floated for a few

Then the swish of the
shimmering propeller came
and I welcomed it joyfully
and she the same

The sea swirled around us
and we became a team
swimming underneath
the stars and sun
Our movements synchronized
our thoughts one

And the swirls continued
and the restlessness passed
nagging loneliness
lifted at last

Her gleaming essence
my solace in waters of blue-green
her songs always calling to me
Her fondness growing as well
as she inhaled breaths
of my starry air

Then swirls became waves
and waves became storms
we held tight to each other
never washing upon the shore

But there was nowhere to dock
nowhere to keep moored

Our cadence continues
on the high seas
her fins never tire
my feet never sleep

We sometimes dream
when all was composed
when restlessness
was all we owned

But the truth among
the swish and the stars
is that our sea
was never really calm.

blonde-mermaid

Photo courtesy of http://sapphiresirendreams.com/mermaid-lore/

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Spirograph and Worn Antiques

I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother lately. The one who is deceased, not the one who is alive. Granny is still dipping snuff and listening to country music in her ranch-style home. Nana is somewhere with that great spirit in the sky, perhaps noshing on walnuts and dancing to Glenn Miller.

But I have felt her presence lately. I’m not sure why she has decided to visit but I will welcome it nevertheless.

The other day I was sitting at the dining room table, a worn 1920’s set I inherited from Nana’s mother. For a moment I was ten again, or rather wished I was. I could hear echoes of my cousin’s laughter and smell the buttered toast Nana would broil for us every morning. I could see her spinning in the front room to the sound of the jazz album. I could feel the spongy firmness of the big eraser I used to delete scattered lines from my latest Spirograph design.

There was always something to do at Nana and Papa’s. Whether it was trudging and scavenging and playing among Papa’s junk yard or dancing to the music from the turn table and playing “Office” in the living room or being a guinea pig in one of my older cousin’s traps or home-made haunted houses in the basement.

Sometimes it feels like those times were a hundred years ago. But thank god I have those memories at least.

I love that my own son now plays around that worn antique set. Does his homework there. Builds Legos. Has chatty weeknight dinners with me there. I bought him a Spirograph set a while back. He didn’t quite take to it like I thought he would.

I think my Nana would be proud of me for the most part. Maybe that’s why she visits from time to time. Just to let me know.

And to remind me to keep dancing.

glenn miller dancing

 

 

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Filed under Yep I'm Becoming My Mother

Fearless

When the blank screen stares back at you poker-faced, Daily Prompt to the rescue…

Fearless.

I won’t say I am completely fearless or fearful. Although there was a time when I was so fearful to get out in the world I had to psyche myself up just to go into the grocery store.

I felt I would pass out or embarrassingly yell out random explicatives under the blinding fluorescent lighting and rows and rows of strangers and stacked food products.

When I was younger I was afraid to swim in murky water, be it lakes or oceans. All I could think of were the snakes and sharks and piranha that might be gliding by, waiting to pierce the flesh of my feet.

And I have never quite gotten over my fear of diving. The time in the Mediterranean sea when I lost my bikini top pretty much robbed me of ever going head first into water.

Flying was a real chore for a number of years. And public speaking? I’d rather slice my toe and pour hot sauce all over it.

So I guess you’d say I have a number of fears lurking underneath. Most I have either conquered or learned to deal with.

Two weeks ago I went to Busch Gardens, a zoo/theme park which boasts some of the most thrilling coasters in the country. I hadn’t been on one in years. Back in my teens and twenties I rode any state fair ride that rolled off the highway. As the years went by my equilibrium and necessity for survival kept me from enjoying them anymore.

With a little liquid encouragement and the desire to make memories impress my now thrill-seeking little boo, I went on some of the craziest rides ever. I screamed like a little girl being chased by swarms of wasps.

I loved it.

There’s one that rises 335 feet, rotates and dangles you facing the ground below, then drops. I rode that one twice.

I never want to live in fear. Fear is paralyzing. Fear disables meaningful life experiences and the rush that comes with it.

Of course we don’t want to be stupid. I wear my seatbelt. I floss. I look both ways before crossing the street.

But swimming in the ocean, flying to see a close relative, watching my almost 12-year-old look at me with happiness and pride– those are things I will not let fear steal from me.

What are your fears? Do you have some you have painstakingly overcome? I’d love to hear your story…

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fearless/

falconsfury

 Photo courtesy of YouTube.com

 

 

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Filed under A Writer's Mind

Oranges, Sage, Sand and Time

Yesterday while stepping outside the office to the parking lot I caught a whiff of some kind of dry brush percolating its arid scent in the late spring warmth. It immediately transported me back to 1989. To a sandy and rooted path towards the Mediterranean sea. I looked down at my feet and couldn’t believe I had really gone on that trip all those years ago. Seems like an eternity. The girl who traveled there had freckles and bushy brown hair and a wondering mind. I still have the freckles and a matured version of that mind so it must have been me.

I love how smells take you to places and evoke memories in an instant. In the midst of everyday life we step back and take a deep inhale through the honker and relive a moment as if it were right at our feet.

Take oranges for another example. That smell of freshly sliced citrus transports me back to an even earlier time. To childhood and the kitchen counter and the oranges stacked in a bowl during Christmastime. It is always Christmas when I smell an orange. And now the citrus fruits lining my lanai swell and ripen in wintertime.

IMG_9362

Fresh cut grass reminds me of Tennessee summers and my dad and my brother and the aggravation then prideful relief when the yard work was finished.

Decaying leaves and burning wood always remind me of fall and Halloween. The beginning of school days. Trick-or-treating. Playing in piles of orange and red and brown fallen oak and maple. Writing somber poetry.

Curry and coriander bring forth memories of Christmas Eve and our now decade-long family tradition of enjoying an Indian feast before driving around to see all the neighborhood holiday lights.

Instant coffee and tobacco– my grandparent’s house. Powder soap and crayons– elementary school. Soft, sweet Petunia– my mother’s garden. Aveeno Eczema Therapy lotion– my son’s infancy. Rain– lazy summer days and escaping to shelter. Cinnamon– all the good memories ever all wrapped into one.

Last night I stared down at my feet after a good jog on the causeway. The terrain underneath reminded me of that path to the Mediterranean sea and the desert of the Australian Outback and all the places I’ve been and seen and experienced. It’s still a bit of a shock how much I’ve done. The smell of the salty, shelly gulf wafted around me and I smelled not a memory but a presence. I was home. And alive in the present with all the memories of the past in my brain waiting for the frontal lobe to spark the temporal and let me relive them again, if only for a time.

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The Worn Path in the Carpet

Lately I feel like I’m turning into my grandmother.

I’m going through walnuts like they’re becoming extinct. My nana’s cheeks were perpetually bloated with the masticating remnants of an assortment of nuts. She somehow managed to keep them from spewing out as she multitasked between chewing, housework, and yelling at us kids. But never in anger. Always questions, like how many pieces of butter toast did we want for breakfast.

And speaking of multitasking, she did it every minute of the day, but she didn’t do it well. I pride myself on being an esteemed multitasker. But I find sometimes these tasks are not completed, merely started and left to sit unfinished like Nana’s breakfast dishes. She would “wash” them all day long. It would be time to start dinner and the toast crust would still be lingering on the edges of the Currier & Ives.

There are days when my breakfast dishes are still stacked next to the sink when the sun is setting and I’m searching for the wine opener.

Nana also loved chocolate. Fudge to be exact. She made three homemade pans full (with nuts of course) in the afternoon and by evening they’d be scraped clean. But the woman never gained a pound. Her house boasted a pea-green carpet that had a path worn thin from her constant moving about. I don’t think I ever saw her sit down. My floors are tile so there are no threadbare indications of ceaseless activity. But at least a half dozen times a day I will enter a room and say aloud, “Now why the hell did I come in here?”

But in the evening when I’m walking in the kitchen I know exactly what I’m there for. The chocolate.

Nana was also very scatter-brained. She eventually ended up with Alzheimer’s. Lately I have lost the spatula and the dustpan, and for the life of me have no idea where they could have gone. I also lose track of my point or story mid-sentence, and sometimes call my son every name except his own. She used to do this too. When she got to the dog’s name, Fuzzy, we knew she was close.

The fact I feel I’m losing my mind recently is cause for concern. Am I really becoming Nana? Am I gonna get Alzheimer’s? I still know the key is for the door. I just don’t know where I put it.

At Nana’s funeral they played Glenn Miller’s In the Mood. We all sat, heads hung low. I imagined her swinging with Papa at some cool speakeasy. And then I imagined her the way I remembered. Her taking time out of the daily and nightly grind of tending to husband and house and kids to stop and just cut a freaking rug. Usually in the front room next to the stereo turntable. I always loved that she danced.

Nana dancing

Nana always danced with me.

When I have my kitchen dance party, or cut a rug in the living room, or groove in front of the bathroom mirror I am channeling some of that energy.

She is within me. I am a part of her. I hope I’m not going crazy. But if I am, I hope I’ll be dancing all the way to the nursing home. And I hope a bar of chocolate will be in the top drawer of my dresser. Just like we used to leave for her. But please let it be dark. With nuts, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Yep I'm Becoming My Mother