It’s fall here in the mountains, and I keep trying to be nostalgic for the mountain air and woodstove of my childhood. But today, the images are of a hot pink Big Wheel on our mountainside deck. The 10 good pumps of my legs before I had to turn around so as not to careen the three steps to the gravel driveway and then another 30 feet down the bank to the neighbor’s house below. My brother, behind me, before me, on his blue one.
Or Mom soothing aloe into my sunburned shoulders a few years later. The blisters already coming. The way she rubbed that coolness in like the prayer she must have said a million times – “Don’t let her get cancer, too. Don’t let her get cancer, too.”
Or I’m standing in the ground-level crown of a birch broken open with trunks, the cage, the fortress, the tower of nature’s shaping. My hands grip the white bark, and I lean forward, stretching the front of my shoulders as I peer out, as if unseen.
Today, these are the gifts that come to me from time, from love, from memory. I don’t bid them – just as I did not beckon forth that whole week when the walkway between the 1st and 2nd grade building and the 3rd and 4th grade building at my elementary came to my mind like a ghost. Perhaps this is what some people call inspiration.
I simply call it life and attention. Today to what is given and what has been.
Now, though, I see my brother and I by the woodstove. Our legs crossed beneath us in the 6:30 morning. I feel the fire of the door left open as it warms our fingers and toes to almost burnt while our backs chill beneath our school clothes. Every morning in the cool, this same thing.
Here, in this farmhouse foyer of an office, my toes are chilled with fall, and I wish to curl them again the pedals of a plastic motorcycle and ride to the warmth of that woodstove morning.
What memories slip into your mind today?
Just a few days left to enter my giveaway for two seats in my upcoming grammar class. I hope you’ll give it go: