Thursday, March 18, 2010

I believe in reminders, in keeping close parts of where we come from in order to forget neither how far we have come nor how many people have helped us get so far. We're all of us a collection of high points and low points and seconds where everything comes into focus.

I was always a watcher, naturally, waiting to see what people would do, what would happen next. Sometimes being small and quiet and easily fading into backgrounds is a benefit. I learned a lot about watching out back of my grandparents' house--even I couldn't spend all of my time reading, so I'd cross the grass to the water and see what would happen. If you sat long enough the little crabs would come back out of their holes and scuttle through the mangrove roots, the little fish would come out of their hiding spots under the shadows, and the shore birds would leave their perches in the branches and go back to fishing. There was always a hush down there, only cicadas and sometimes a jumping fish, the rustle of a heron stepping precisely through the mangroves. For most of my life, my grandparents lived right next to that water.

But everything changed, and my granddad died and my grandma had to move, and now that quiet belongs to someone else. I've been feeling a little unmoored since the day I went to say goodbye, a little sad about the notion that there was finally a cap put on the possibility of new memories there. I thought about it for a long while and finally decided that I should always have that place with me, that place where I was always happy and safe and loved, and where I learned my first lessons about the joy that can be found in looking.

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