December 26, 2008


*a surviving trace: a remnant of the past


This time of year, for me and others, brings into vivid focus memories of those who have been and are no more, physically present in our lives. And as the years leave deeper tracks in the reflection I see in the mirror, they also leave a longer list of those I miss. Loss can be, for lack of a better word, a bit funny. Funny in the sense of the unpredictable moments that rise up, reminding us, as if it were new news that someone we love is gone. Hearing that new message can be jolting but what a masterful thing for the brain to do, also giving us an occasional momentary reprieve from reality. With that we are allowed bits of reflection without the hinderance of loss. Memory is amazing in so many ways. To be able to review, through triggers such as sight, sound, smell and touch, precious times... those are the greatest gifts of my holiday season.

And one of my most treasured reflective gifts was a summer visit my folks paid us about twenty five or more years ago. It would be the only visit they made here together. My mother fell in love with this little lake we live on. You could find her each morning at sunrise, sitting on the deck with coffee in hand, taking in the quiet beauty nature gifted her for rising early. And, as if choreographed, each dawning during her stay was colorful. She especially loved the long dock that ran from our shore in an almost straight line. Loved its morning shadows, it's simple rough nature and how our black lab, Clancy, would leap from it's edge for anything tossed. But as good visits go, that one came to an end all too soon. An infants handful of years past, then people and things did too; my mother long before her dock. 

Finally, a long overdue removal of the dock began. It was shaky, dangerous and at some point it began to feel like having a proprietary grasp on nature. Still, it was mom's dock and as my husband slowly dismantled it, piece by piece from our canoe, I wanted to say "don't take it all, leave a little for mom". Without uttering those words, the dock took care of things for me. Three of the anchor beams refused to budge and as you can see, they still do. I choose to believe mom has had a part in all of it. And as the seasons pass those three posted remnants continue to make shadows, catch snow and remind me of those slow, lovely sunrises spent with my mother taking it all in.



Anonymous said...

Really good writing. "The dock took care of things for me." You wound that sentence up and then you wound it down. And to have photograph of the writing and dock--just really good. --Jack Matthews

Sea Mist and Sunsets said...

Thank you Jack, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I find myself rereading this and a handful of other blogged recounts of my family once in awhile.

Leads us back to the Taos Sunflower discussion about letters and leaving a history. For others to read, yes. Possibly for ourselves as well. I never journaled. This seems equivalent. Getting it out, then getting it back when needed.
Hugs, Chris

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