While many experiences bring out senses and images that take me back in time, none are as distinct or intense as trips to New England and London, perhaps because my life in each was so magical and life forming……whereas life in other parts of the world were either stepping stones or romantic comedies.
At times, I think it of in this way……each move and experience is like a book chapter, whereas traveling back to my ‘home town’ unravels a beautiful historical novel that consistently introduces lesson after lesson, the kind that are so sacred in our life journey.
I don’t think anyone is truly prepared to handle the passing of the guards, yet its such an integral part of every culture. Some cultures have more structured traditions to help make this rite of passage tamer, yet none powerful enough to make the process easy for any of us.
Loss, and it comes to us in more packages than physical ones, i.e., a job, a severed relationship with a friend or a business associate, a divorce……and then there’s the physical kind which is always harder, i.e., losing a spouse, parent, child or family property.
A recent trip back to upstate New York to deal with a family property, courts me down memory lane. While tantalizing, engaging and spiritual on multiple levels, it’s also somewhat surreal as images of teenage traumas and family fueds pass before my eyes.
The senses are always woken up at times like this…….a first kiss on an avenue where time stands still, a bakery where the grandchild of the owner who served you as a child now hands you a scone, the worn sign of the town’s newspaper, the library that is still housed on the same corner, in an old historical building you never quite appreciated at age ten.
It reminds me of Joe Jackson’s famous song “Home Town,” a song that followed me around the world, first on a scratchy cassette tape, then on a used portable CD player, thereafter a Sony mini-disc player, and now on an iPod.
If you know the melody, recall it as vividly as you can while you read his lyrics; words that allow you a dance of a lifetime……..
|Of all the stupid things
I could have thought…
this was the worst
I started to believe
That I was born at seventeen
And all the stupid things
The letters and the broken verse
Stayed hidden at the bottom of the drawer
They’d always been
And now I plough through piles
Of bills, receipts and credit cards
We think we’re pretty smart