NOT LOST BUT GONE…
Sometimes a poorly exposed photograph is worth the effort. In this case I was able to bring back the memory of three small children, in a small way. Here we have the grave of Little Mary Smith (1865), Little Fannie, and Little Someone Else. The inscriptions were hard to read, but with a bit of tweaking, I was amazed how the letters and words become clearer, until “Voilà!” You have a phrase.
Plainfield, Connecticut August 26, 2016
My journal is filled with disconnected ideas, weather conditions, and random thoughts. Days and dates, and months of the year quickly pass by. Yesterday marked the first day of Spring, an annual milestone, filled with new hopes and dreams, like a toddler taking their first steps across the room.
I don’t remember learning to walk, but will never forget when I learned to ride bike. One day, a small bicycle suddenly appeared in the yard, and I knew what to do. It wasn’t mine. It was borrowed, and I would teach myself to ride. No eyes watched me, and no one talked. No training wheels attached themselves to the frame, either. It was hop on and go, from the top of a small embankment of the lawn, down. The incline was slight, and the soft, fluffy grass protected me when I fell. The time spent balancing became greater than time on the ground, until finally I was sailing away. It only took a day, or two. Left to my imagination, in this crucial task of growing up, the way to build and sustain my fragile confidence, was to be left alone, to own the accomplishment for myself.
It just occurred to me that the photograph I took of the stepping stones, leading from the forest into the open field, can be a metaphor for every task I embark upon, in every new stage of life, like riding the bike. And now, as each page of the calendar gets turned, and every new season passes by, the uncertainty remains as powerful as before. But, to move along means to cross the stepping stones at every juncture, and make the most, of tous les jours.
“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, protray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.”
― Robert Heinlein
“New Clothes and Old Clothes” from “The New Book of Days” by Eleanor Farjeon, captures the way I feel about old clothes. There are some pieces of clothing I really love and can’t part with. I may or may not wear them, but keep them for their colors, the feel of the fabric, or some memory attached to an event or time. It may be something I wore over and over again – the threads so bare, the collar so frayed. The intangibility of the passing of that time is what matters most to me.
Eleanor says, “In May, older clothes are kinder to you then new ones.”
I rather like New Clothes,
They make me feel so fine,
Yet, I am not quite Me,
The clothes are not quite mine.
I really love Old Clothes,
They make me feel so free,
I know that they are mine,
For I feel just like Me.
People don’t always see things in the same light. Reactions will differ, from something to nothing at all. Even in seeing a blade of grass. The same blade of grass in a sea of millions of other blades, an observer might ask: why are you looking at that blade of grass? -singular, like yourself. – And if you choose to answer them they still may not understand. You simply have to move on.