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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Like Fireflies

Summer evenings in June and July, whenever Mom and Dad let us stay up after dark, were dedicated to the capture and containment of fireflies. We had no desire to harm them (we won't talk about what happens when you squish them during a "glow"), but to place them in a jar and use them as natural flashlights. My brother and I tried to "train" them to glow at the same time.

As it turned out, the fireflies weren't interested in being trained, but it didn't matter to me; they were the only bug I ever loved. Other than ladybugs (the REAL ones, not the orange Asian Beetles that have infringed in the last 10 years or so).

Ahh....childhood. The Good ol' days.

You may be rolling your eyes, but for days, I've been in a nostalgic mood. 

While I wish I could provide photos, a camera/computer glitch has prevented me from revealing incredible photos of something many of us remember and considered to be a staple of our society. What was it? booth. Right. The kind you'd put money into and dial, maybe while holding the handset in a handkerchief,  shirt tail, rag, kleenex...etc...depending on your location when using it.

I used to go out always having enough change for a phone booth, because that's the advice given to young women who might be in need of a ride home if her friends either got too fresh or too wasted to get them back home.

Do you know I STILL carry the proper change on me for that purpose?

Even as I watch them fade away, and a point brought to bear: the one I photographed is no longer in existence...I can't help but carry the change in case my pre-paid cell decides to die.


Today at Mass, I don't really know why, I was especially weepy. All throughout, I worked hard to maintain my composure, and didn't realize until Father gave the blessing to Fathers for Father's Day why I was crying.

 I weep for what I no longer have and what I can no longer celebrate. You'd think I'd "get over it" after 15 years, but with the date falling so close to my birthday, it's impossible to ignore. The man half responsible for my life is not here to share it with me in any way.

Related Tangent aka God's Sense of Humor

Last night, for my oncoming birthday, my surviving family took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, which, unfortunately is in a modern strip mall which as of late began to host a Planned Parenthood clinic. The office next to it advertising some other service had a far more important message, and although they did not have any intent for their message to reflect upon the business next door to them, it was impossible to read without seeing it. I pray any woman walking into Planned Parenthood sees their neighbor's prominent advert: "Permanent Choice".

Yes. That's what stands out. Right next to "Planned Parenthood".

Heh. That business wasn't there a couple months ago; I hope women see it and realize that abortion is, in fact, a permanent "choice".

Meanwhile back in my nostalgic musings...

There's also been another twist in our life: the aunt, my dad's sister, somewhat estranged due to certain actions taken after his death, has invited us to visit their new home, which just happens to be across the river from the neighborhood where I grew up.

There's a lot of history there; much of what we become as adults is contained in our earliest years, and even though we moved when I was only ten, I can't help but remember, fondly, the sunny summer days of running through the woods and joyful winter sledding of my childhood.

Although I look forward to this trip, which I hope and pray my brother and I can make this summer, I can't help but be a bit emotional about it. The last time we were there we were with our Dad, and this time, he will only be a memory.

A part of me knows that when we return, I will be disappointed for the character of the uncommon  neighborhood will have changed, and so I will no longer be able to remember it as it was then. Yet another part of me cries out for this vision of  "home", in hopes there will be something of comfort there, something that has remained, a sign a constancy, a sign that in spite of the passage of time, some part of our childhood innocence has been preserved.

Yes, I'm weeping today. Weeping for what was, weeping for what (and who) I never appreciated properly, weeping for a world that passes by too quickly to capture.

We all live our lives as though this is all there is, but as I've gotten older there is one thing I lament: we never appreciate what we have until it's gone. Movies and books have been published on this topic to no end, in every genre and form, but still, we never learn.

Our lives pass by like the glow of early summer fireflies; and even when we try to capture the moment, it is gone, and even a mason jar covered with foil won't allow us to keep time from slipping through our fingers.

I guess, though, I'd rather have this bittersweet nostalgia to temper my musings than no memories at all.

You know what? I hope that if we go this summer, I'll have time to wait and watch for fireflies, and capture them once again, only to let them go free in the nighttime breeze.

1 comment:

MJ said...

OK - now you have me in tears :) I can totally relate to the nostalgia part. It seems the older I get and the closer my oldest son's wedding gets - the more nostalgic I get.