Thursday, October 3, 2013
Fall for me is definitely the time of change, renewal, nostalgia for the past. I spend hours neatly putting away my summer clothes and getting out the winter clothes. Among my stored clothes, I always discard a few. That also goes for other items like wool hats, scarves, blankets. Every year I remove a wool blanket, a green and red Pendleton, from a chest redolent with mothballs, and consider adding it to the discard pile. But then I don't. Though I never cared a lot for the blanket in the first place, that is its colors and design, it was a gift from my brother and his wife 35 years ago. When I look at it, I see them – young happy hopeful. Among other things, hopeful that the leukemia that had seized my brother ten years earlier was in remission and would just somehow disappear or stay at bay. Of course it was not to be. Only a few years later, Henry was dead and his wife had a two-year-old to raise on her own. My family mourned this loss for years and years, in anger, bitterness, regret. That's what I see when I look at that blanket -- that spring of hope (though it was delusion), that momentary pause in the pain and stress and helplessness; a time when we weren't the people we are now. When we didn't have so many scars. The same goes for many items that long ago should have gone to Good Will -- a shabby stuffed elephant that belonged to my son, a robe my mother used during beach holidays -- we hold onto these material reminders like the madeleine Proust tastes that brings back his youth, we revel in those moments of feeling how we used to be, the people we once were. Even if the present moment is just as good, or better, it's not the same; we're not the same. But honestly I think this year I will give the red and green blanket away -- it's time to cease dipping into the past...it's time to affirm the present moment.