"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nostalgia In June

Its summer now so, I am playing The Dixie Chicks and The Avett Brothers and sometimes even a little Gretchen Wilson or the Stanley Brothers. I miss my roots in this weather. I can't wear shoes for love nor money and I want to spend all day at a little weedy lake fishing with my boys. I am out in the garden every chance I get, picking roses and leaving them on the steps absently, chewing the blossoms of clover and honeysuckle and forever forgetting to go grocery shopping or make dinner on time. I remember that I have a guitar this time of year and I get it out to play randomly, (I can still play!?) but I have the worst time telling the boys to practice their piano. Its the wrong season for piano, its time for banjos and mandolins. I wish I was at a music festival or a picnic or a rodeo all day long.... I feel incredibly at odds with my "real" grown-up life situation in summer.

Pieces of my current life feel alien and fake, even hiking feels like a weirdly upper class activity that isn't rootsy or real enough, there's no throwing dirt clods or laying in a field watching the clouds whirl past. I don't know how to be goal directed and in my proper social class this time of year. I can never seem to keep dirt from under my fingernails or remember to bring my purse when I leave the house. I miss my sisters and the whole universe I grew up in and sometimes laying in the cicada buzzed summer night when the whole house is sleeping I wish there was a radio running ad infinitum on low like it was in our teenage girl bedrooms so many warm summer nights ago. Its strange how you can grow up and become so chafingly  different from your teeny, childhood self and yet feel so permanently tethered to all that once surrounded you. I keep thinking about my grandma (Favorite Person Ever Nominee #1) and how she just sold the house where she said goodbye to my grandpa, watched her grandchildren grow up and became a retiree. How odd and between worlds it must feel to know that the things you miss no longer exist.

I have been doing a lot of genealogy research on my ancestors and marinating in the information I keep unfolding and un-knotting. There is so much before me, so much that is part of who I am. So much past, so much old-time once-upon-a-time story. It makes me sad because so many things and people are gone, irretrievably and I long to hear all the inside jokes and hidden heartbreaks and I never will, but it also buoys me because even if its just me reading about these people and trying to re-tell the stories to my boys its part of me now. So many things are in our DNA besides just the bare facts of eye color or nose shape.  I wanna pass this past I know and yearn for and remember, my own early beginnings to my boys and also these mysterious people in black and white photos who had so many beautiful, sad, ridiculous stories. I want them to know that they are not islands, that all these people who were, before are part of them and that all the previous parts of themselves are allowed and don't need to go away. I hope I can tell my kids that its fine with me if they change and fine if they revert. Its all there, future growth and ability to become really different along with the permanence of all that has been.

I don't really know how to untangle all of this for myself. I know I have permission to be shockingly different than I ever was and also permission to hang onto illogically primitive inclinations, maybe that's enough. Its lonely sometimes. I had a boyfriend break up with my once with the line, "You're not the sweet little country girl you were when I met you. You've changed." It made me proud at the time and felt so reactionary but it is strange now to realize how much that was true and also wasn't at the exact same time.

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” -Linda Hogan



  1. Love that last quote! So true and not something I think about.


  2. Love that last quote! So true and not something I think about.