Trying to write this blog today is beginning to feel like I am stuck in one of those slow-motion-filmed-over-a-100-days-National-Geographic-boring (I am not a fan — obviously) shows about the wonders of The Fern Growing. I picked “fern” because my own little fiddleheads out on the porch are struggling through the dirt, towards the light even as I write — and much faster, it seems to me, than their National Geographic sisters ever did (and certainly not as boring-ly). One thing I do know, they are definitely much more successful at their “popping out” than I seem to be at poking my own head up through endless cups of Earl Grey tea, games of freecell and accusing cat stares to get some words on paper.
I am retreating to the library for inspiration
I haven’t been back here to write since my altercation with the homeless gentleman. I found a different corner to write in — just in case he remembers me. Staying anchored to the dining room table was getting me nowhere. All morning I found myself knee deep in the caramely-stickiness of nostalgia — a place I usually sidestep quite nicely, thank you very much. All I have to do to avoid it is to hunker down, think sarcastic thoughts and stick to the practical, Capricorn, get-on-with-it side of my personality. But every once in a while I slip and find myself smack dab in the middle of a, usually tearful, tripping down memory lane, romanticizing the reality as I go along. But isn’t that what nostalgia is all about?
It’s been happening more often lately than say five years ago — no doubt yet another sign of my aging process. I’ll just add it to the ever-growing “I’m-getting-older-and-there’s-nothing-I-can-do-about-it” list which already includes the “barnacles” sprouting on my back, slowed-down-to-a-crawl walk, and the earlier-and-earlier rising time — which, if it continues, means that by the time I’m 80 I’ll be getting up before I go to bed.
Anything can trigger this nostalgic wallowing. Last night it was the tear jerker movie, How Green Was My Valley, on the tube. I have probably wept my way through this movie at least 500 times in my life — I exaggerate but only just. I can’t get past that scene with little Roddy McDowall with just the sweetest accent ever stretching out his wee liitle arms towards his ailing mother as she shuffles her way to him. Chokes me up just writing this. Throw in the miners’ Welsh choir outside the door crooning and I become an absolute goner — blubbering my way to the next scene. Including last night. I scared the cats who have not witnessed this side of me all that often.
But the real reason is that today is Mother’s Day and that movie was one of my mother’s favorites. Whenever it was on, she’d call me to give me a heads up on airing time — even when I was living in Washington. She’d replay her favorite scenes in case I’d forgotten what the movie was all about (like I could). She knew enough of the dialogue she could have taken on the mother’s part no sweat — switching the Welsh accent for an Irish one, of course. I hope back then I didn’t give her one of my snarky retorts about schmultzy movies and a lesson in regional TV programing. Last night I just wanted to call her up and say, “Hey, guess what I’m watching….”
Today, it was the weather that got me tripping down memory lane. No, really. Every time I looked out the window, which was ridiculously often, there was dramatically different weather happening outside — brilliant sunshine followed seconds later by torrents — and I really mean buckets full — of rain and then, just like it wasn’t May at all, hail! Hail pinging those sweet, struggling little fiddleheads who were just doing what came naturally, for heaven’s sake. It was dramatic — enough that it got me away from the table (like I needed another reason to procrastinate) and to the windows. (The cats slept through it, of course.)
Nose to window, I slipped back to 1952 and my little six year-old-self looking out the dining room window at the May snow coming down. It was my First Communion Day. I looked angelic, of course, in my dotted swiss white dress, a real veil, white buckle shoes, my very-own-no-hand-me-down rosary beads and prayer book and a missing front tooth. Having attended this rite of passage for numerous siblings, I knew that on this one day in my life in this family I would be a star — the absolute center of attention. It felt good. We’d even had fresh pineapple for breakfast. So, as I looked out that window at the snow, I figured it was a miracle that god performed just for me. Sort of a welcome to the flock gift and to tell me, so I’d always remember, “Annie Eyerman, I don’t just send snow to just anyone. You’re special.”
So really, these nostalgic diversions weren’t really procrastinating detours away from writing at all. There are all these words written down, eh? Now, I can go home and see if the fiddleheads have been as successful doing their own creating — in spite of the weather.