Friday, December 30, 2016

In snowy Massachusetts. Hot chocolate. Icy bare trees. Stacks of books from the library. Hanukah candles glowing in the gloaming. Colored pencil drawings. Charlie Brown's Christmas. Early bedtimes. "Angels from the Realms of Glory" and covers of Hillary/Kate McGinnon's cover of Leonard Cohen on out-of-tune piano in the basement. The piano I spent hours and hours and weeks and years of my life playing songs from Les Mis and Miss Saigon and REM and 10,000 Maniacs on. Candy canes in a little jar. My old wind-up rocking horse toy playing "Toyland." Wally making up endless stories with his new story cubes. Petra putting together a puzzle photo of my Aunt and Uncle's wedding picture, a favor from the anniversary party I never made it down to this October because of the hurricane that closed off the North Carolina shore, six years after the cousin's October wedding I never made it down to because of a hurricane that messed up all the flights in the Northeast. The notes of the windup toy spaced further and further apart as the toy slows down. Wally worried last night about dying, through tears asking why everyone has to die. Petra first thing this morning, before even really awake, stretching her arms above her head with eyes still shut, "See Wally, I told you you wouldn't die."

Just a note here or there now of the music from the wind-up toy, with the broken wooden train and the missing teddy bear that fell off somewhere, who knows how many years ago.  "Little girl and boy land. When you dwell within it, you are ever happy." Notes hanging in the air, as the clear bright sun streams in.

9 comments:

  1. Oh what beauty. This entire piece reads like those Hanukah candles, "glowing in the gloaming." I especially love the childhood relics and that wedding puzzle. Wally's evening anxiety and Petra's morning reassurance. You captured it all so perfectly.

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  2. The peaceful fragility of this scene is gripping my heart. Happy New Year to you, my dear friend.

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  3. Thank you both so very much, for understanding.

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  4. Aching loss hides beneath the Christmas decorations and music. The loss of NC (we know this one well). The flood zone (yes). Wally's perfect questions (for what is a question if not to ask that), and Petra's deep, uncanny acknowledgement of them. Notes hanging in the air. We are all longing for those notes, the mysterious icy branches, the out-of-tune holiday songs, the sweet refrain playing in the distance of our memories. Life ebbs out, and we search frantically in our dreams for these long-lost moments, what we thought was real, what may still be real, while we in our waking dreams are fading fast.

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  5. Yes you absolutely know it Kristin...the way you re-write it, re-imagine it, stuns me. Frantically searching for those moments, 2000 miles away at least, and it feels like as many years, in the snow.

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  6. Remembering is always part of this blessed season of the year - but whatever is happening right now helps to put the memories in a context that makes them less bitter, or even less sweet, for being past, but still a part of NOW, which is a treasure, as you describe and reveal it to be.

    I have thought that this Christmas was the best ever - and then I thought, how could *that* be, when my husband wasn't here! But yes, it was the best, because it was the one we were celebrating and being together in, and it would be an insult to the children and grandchildren and everyone if I refused to love this present moment above all.

    Thank you for stimulating my happy thoughts!

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  7. GretchenJoanna - so nice to hear from you. Yes, the way you write it makes me think of Faulkner: "The past isn't dead, it's not even the past."

    I love how you can fully embrace the present moment, despite the pain of not having your husband there with you. It's inspiring.

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  8. Wow - I don't think I've read that from Faulkner before. Your sharing it with me makes me cry... I think because of the understanding it conveys. Thank you, Rachel.

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  9. Thank you for your willingness to be so open GretchenJoanna. Sending good wishes your way.

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