Wednesday, August 19, 2009

keeping it simple

The inside of the house looked like a tornado hit it today: The massive cardboard box from the range we picked up at Best Buy sat in the middle of the living room floor, embellished with scarves, blankets, dog toys - anything that would make its new incarnation as a secret fort more complete; half-finished homework covered the coffee table while the afternoon light from the west-setting sun pressed through the slats of the blinds. And the ottoman...The ottoman was awash in cat books (felines being daughter's long time obsession). My (paying) work for the day was nearly finished, and I had my babies with me (I'll still be calling them that when they have families of their own, I'm sure). In short, life was complete.

The three of us sat sprawled on the couch like a pile of puppies, and we just talked. Son asked if I'd ever experienced a natural disaster, like a hurricane or a tornado. I told him I hadn't been through either of those, but there was the '89 Loma Prieta quake, which I experience firsthand as a new employee at the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz, which was largely destroyed that day, twenty years ago this October. Then the conversation shifted to the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, where my grandfather lived. He was just a boy right about the age my son is now, and my mother tells me that, shortly after the quake hit, he was running down the street carrying the precious family portrait, since each person basically had time to carry just one thing.

I know time isn't something you can carry in a literal sense. It's fleeting and resistant to any human effort to control it. But I'll tell you this: If time could be carried, if it could be removed from danger and taken elsewhere, that half hour on the couch today would be the kind of thing you'd see clutched in my arms as I ran toward safety.

9 comments:

  1. I loved all your grandparents. What a great memory to jog from my gumball machine!

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  2. I have a hunch our memories are not linear but bunch up and concentrate on only a few really important things. The problem is we can only recognize those times well after the fact, (except maybe your present observation). Mazel tov.

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  3. I did luck out in the granparent department, Erin. Without a doubt. It pains me to have lost them so (relatively) young, though. I'm always amazed at folks my age who still have grandparents living. Hug them close, I want to tell them.

    :-)

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  4. True, Ken. Why is hindsight so clear, and presentsite so often blurry? Seems a waste to me...

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  5. I'm guessing now: could it be "the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight . . ."? pace Dr Johnson.

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  6. Yes, well, I'd like to think it won't come to that, Ken. But I suppose it's always wise to stay on one's toes.

    :-)

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  7. Anonymous7:01 PM

    And THAT is why you WILL be published someday. You eloquent thing you. Love ya! (J in the prairie.) OH and seriously, are you gonna call or something? Email? cuz, I am seriously starting to feel like a stalker. LOL

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  8. I didn't know you were blog stalking, J! (Blawlking?) How was your trip?

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  9. Anonymous6:48 AM

    hi, new to the site, thanks.

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