Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Summer Breeze, The Autumn Leaves, The Moon Rise and Fireflies

While many are quick to say that smells trigger memories fastest for them, I have to say that subtleties in weather bring memories to the forefront of my thinking more quickly.

One day this week I stepped out on the stoop of my apartment building at the corner of numbered street and an eastern state ave, and I felt the humidity level that reminded me of starting junior high school. The temperature and humidity reminded me of the same weather that we usually had at the annual flag raising observance each autumn. An old tradition in the school's history, it involved being taken out on the front lawn of the school where the band butchered a few patriotic songs that they admittedly had not had enough time to learn. The pledge of allegiance was intoned for the year and there were a few comments droned from the principal, unlovingly known as Chrome Dome, this title of course was not levied because of his hat. Now I would qualify for the same knick name.

Another morning when the weather was cooler and the grass was a little wet I felt the climate transporting me to back to first period Phys. Ed. Class when I was a freshman in high school. The dewy, freshly mowed football field that provided for us grass clippings to track onto the newly polished floors in the hall outside of the locker room did smell fresh, not new mowed hay, but certainly fresh cut glass and Glo Coat. The tracked grass was often spoken of by an ired school janitorial staff who surely thought that we should have taken our shoes off at the door, like high school boys were going to do that.

The turning of the weather this time of year reminds me of sitting on the school bus and passing fields surrounded by wire fence. Many of the wire framed squares in the fence had spider webs in the corner, it really does happen, it isn't a set up shot for the September leaf of an, “Across America” advertising calendar. The morning glories clinging to fence posts and corn stalks, glistening with dew drops is real too, not misted on my a photographer's assistant, but left by the hand of God. Even when I was a kid I looked at them and saw their beauty, a beauty that my contemporaries didn't see. Even when I pointed them out to whoever sat with me on the bumpy ride down country roads. (The bus Driver didn't appreciate them either, he told me to keep my forehead off of the window, I was greasing it up.) I didn't appreciate him afterward. My thought then and continues to be, “get some Windex, you're missing the beauty of the earth.”

I sat in my living room with the windows open one evening this week and watched as very menacing clouds blew across the mid evening sky. A dark sky like the one that evening is so much different than the ones that I grew up with in the country. I love thunder and lightening, and yet it is somehow more dramatic in the country. Instead the thumping of a car stereo at the intersection causes my glasses to rattle in the cupboard, I would prefer that jiggle to be caused by nearby thunder. I still love to sit and watch the clouds float across the sky and feel the wind move through the windows, a breeze that causes the curtains to dance about like tethered ghosts.

There is a certain shade of blue gray that reminds me of Saugatuck, Michigan. When I see it I want to rush to the lake. A cloudy day on the beach is cause for whining by most vacationers, they flock to Holland to the outlet mall or the movie theater, but for me, the best entertainment is rougher water and the overcast skies. The water moves with increased power that reminds of the power of God and the mottled gray clouds drifting along remind me of a fluffy quilt that can easily comfort and chase the fear of the waves away. All in one place. Better if shared with someone.

Yet at sunset, that perfectly round, stunning orange orb fills my heart with yearning for someone to share the sight with, someone to hold hands with as it slides down to kiss the horizon. Being alone becomes all the more obvious when turning from the beach and it's darkening horizon to see the blue-white full moon that has been sneaking up my back. It goes from full moon to full mourn in seconds, it's richness is to be shared. I have spoken to others on the beach and mentioned the dual beauty. I've been looked at like a nut or as if I just blew the moment for them and they were going to have to go find a way to rebuild the momentum.

The changes in the weather can invoke fond memories of childhood, the shooting stars observed from the porch swing on a hot summer night when no one could sleep indoors, it can remind me of the coldest December 1st on record when my family stood in a country cemetery to say our last farewells to my maternal grandfather, a long winded preacher making it all the worse, apparently he wasn't wearing the black skits and dresses that my aunts and girl cousins were wearing. It can bring to mind the days of being a teenager and the smell of dew on the grass, the morning after I mowed. The weather often reminds me of the times as a very young teenager when I would go to the woods and lie on my stomach on a bed of autumn's brown and now crispy leaves and watch the Dutch Boy's Britches as they hung from the “line” and danced when I blew on them. The weather takes me back to sultry July fourths when I have sat on the porch with my family spiting watermelon seeds into the yard, or early summer nights when it would still be just a little cool when the sun went down and there were fireflies to chase.

The weather can bring back those visions of sparkling dew drops that looked like diamonds hanging from morning glories, it can remind me of the evenings watching a sunset and moon rise. Yet it also reminds me that all of these events are best seen not just through my eyes but the eyes of another. I look forward to the day when one of my nieces or nephews notices them and tells me about them, I hope that they will. They may be the only extra eyes in my future that sees them with me. I pray that they never have to look at the moon rise on a warm summer night alone.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another wonderful story that makes me get goosebumps and say to myself, why can't I write something beautiful like that. It takes me back to my childhood , the memories that you bring back. I'm so proud to have you as my nephew. I love your stories. Never , never stop sharing them. UNK

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Melinda said...

Good words.

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