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Reminiscing is in the air

It seems these days are days for reminiscing; many are those on my flist who have had recent posts or fleeting mentions of the past just as I myself wished to wander a bit through my own lanes and byways of memory. As asakiyume  puts it at the beginning of her most recent post: I'm "Feeling lonesome for past times: past childhood,.."

That is not to say I'm malcontent with my present, but as I was walking and taking pictures the other day, seeking my touchstone with nature (to borrow from pjthompson ), I happened past a garden that transported me to my childhood New Mexico with its heady aroma of sun-warmed dill.  

(Garden by the Loire)
Smelling that pungent herb, I was eleven again, living on an isolated farm, surrounded by Black Angus cattle, wheat fields and rolling plains the color of sage. We were 12 miles from school, 30 from where we went to church, and 60 where we had to go for groceries. Rural, very remote, and I loved it. I loved having my horse grazing the pastures behind the farm, loved spotting a herd of pronghorn antelope, loved watching the epic transformations of cumulus clouds across the boundless blue sky.  

I loved that we had a garden and I never had to go hungry there. I loved the bounty and the work that came with it, shucking corn and shelling peas. I loved my guardian's homemade pickles and pantry full of preserves. I loved that she ground her own flour from wheat her husband grew and gathered eggs from her own hens. When I think of my little family's Someday, that moment when we decide to stop traipsing the world and settle down with a house of our own, I want to have a garden. I know the landscape around it won't be similar to what I knew for those brief years as a child, but I hope the feeling of plenty and contentment will be the same.

(Gentleman gardening by the Loire)

I know the New Mexico I miss is not necessarily a place--it's the time that I was rescued, when my life bloomed, when I found out the world had more in it than roach motels, food stamps, and fear.

I never have and I never will miss West Texas with its air that smells all too often of flatulence from the gas wells, its pumpjacks like skeletal birds, condemned to eternally peck the same bit of barren ground.

I've moved on to different pastures, not always greener, but better, infinitely better.

Ha! Bet you didn't know I was going to sneak in a picture of the Sprout! :P


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
But of course there's a picture of the Sprout in here. She's the happy ending and the happy beginning all in one! :-D
Jul. 7th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
--best comment ever <3
Jul. 8th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
Jul. 10th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
Jul. 10th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
What a lovely insight!
Jul. 7th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, M, I didn't know that you had fear and hunger in your very early years,** but I'm sure glad that by the time you were eleven, you were having an experience of bounty, plenty, and openness--that sounds lovely.

**You know, people talk a lot about default assumptions, and how pernicious they can be. I realize that unless someone's always mentioning a threatening or otherwise difficult childhood, my default assumption is that their childhood was happy or at least mainly uneventful. And that's wrong...

Love that first shot of the garden, btw--scents are some of the best memory triggers...
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)

I'm not someone who shuns my past--I'll willingly speak about it with anyone who is interested--but I refuse to give it due power over my present and future. That's not to say that I have no baggage or that the past doesn't inform me in many ways, rather I choose not to blame and I choose to choose, not letting other people's choices dictate some Inevitable role or path or me. I don't typically speak of my family and childhood, though, because I don't want to make people uncomfortable, as they often are when others bring up such intimate things. And it is a fine line speaking of the past and appearing like you are begging pity, which makes me uncomfortable.

But I absolutely know what you mean about default assumptions. We are all "guilty" of them, yet I don't think we can always get around them. We can't imagine every possible scenario for everyone we encounter, so unless we have clues or the necessary information to make us broaden or deepen our views, we carry on with our de facto defaults, which, as you may remember, is a "defect" in French. :P
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
I think the only thing is to continue to be flexible enough to change your defaults, to correct your assumptions. I want to always be that limber...

Your approach to your past seems ideal. No one could ever think you were angling for pity. You talk about stuff as just the facts of your memory, just the way it was.

--there's more at the tip of my consciousness, but I can't quite reach out and grasp it and articulate it. Life is so REAL, and the realness of it is ... a staggering blessing? Maybe that's what I mean to say. But sometimes the pains are staggering too. It's all in there together.... I think it's part of what makes it breathtaking.

... Yeah, whatever it is I'm trying to grasp, I haven't quite managed it yet...
Jul. 8th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
Now that's a version of the past I can get into - as foundation, not destination.
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:24 am (UTC)
Wow, nicely put! You said it better than I could have. :)
Jul. 8th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Your NM home reminds me of the family ranch I loved when I was a teen. But there were parts of Southern California I hated, and they too had those "skeletal birds."

I love the spacious background in the 2nd photo, which makes it seem as if the man is gardening the World. The third photo has some excellent textures. I could imagine buying different fabrics and sewing them together to replicate it--with corduroy for the farmland rows.

As for the Sprout--she brings to mind this morning's dream of a little baby. I was wondering about her theory of mind because I'd been reading about stages of cognitive development night before. What goes on inside a little child's head is so amazing!
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)

I love the spacious background in the 2nd photo, which makes it seem as if the man is gardening the World.

I couldn't agree more. I liked the photo, too, but your description of it brought out the magic.

And yes to the textures! It would be great in a medium that would really showcase them.

What goes on inside a little child's head is so amazing!

I sure wish I could see into her head sometimes!
Jul. 10th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
Your background and past are what you make of them and there fore are also what make you - YOU. you have taken your past and chosen to dwell on the good memories and those that helped you survive. You had a different outlook on life than the rest of your siblings. Yours was more "What can I do to get the most out of life." Theirs was and is what does this life owe me." Your positive outlook and deep faith have and will continue to carry you and your family very far in this life. I love you
Jul. 13th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
Accepting the past and not holding it accountable is very important, I believe.

Love you, too. *hugs*
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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