Sometimes I’m doing something perfectly ordinary. Fitting sheets on the bed. Washing the dishes.
And I have one of my “flashes.” It springs into my mind and is there for only a few seconds and then disappears like a lightning bug in the dark of night. Going, gone and I reach out for it. Try to bring it back.
But it is elusive. Out of reach.
Running up the humpbacked shape of the cellar when I was a child. Feeling the grassy dirt beneath my feet, then coming back down the other side in heady delight. A whooshing of wind breathes on my face.
The little gas stove that kept us warm, the only heating in the house. I would often have stomach aches at night and I’d sit still as a stone in front of it. Wishing the knots of pain away. I remember the blue gauzy lines of gas and the heat coming from it.
The slats of light in the hen house roof. When I open the door to gather the eggs, it stirred up the dust. And soft billowy feathers would float in the air. Lit up and glowing in the stream of light.
The warmth of the dirt underneath me as I played in the garden. Digging holes with sticks and letting ladybugs crawl up my arm. Turning and turning my arm and they stayed in motion, never falling. It seemed a miracle of gravity.
Running through the narrow rows of corn stalks. Whipping my face with whiskery blades but still I kept running. Faster and faster until I came out the other side. As though something invisible had chased me.
I never seem to have complete memories come to me whole cloth. They are bits and pieces and snatches of time that somehow wormed into my brain and stayed there.
Nothing all that important really. Just common things and reminders of what it felt like to be a child on a hot summer day or a cold night in the 1960s. The breeze lifting my dark hair and cooling my neck. The bitter cold air that froze around the windows.
Of time almost standing still.
I am the wind and the rain and the stifling heat all at once. I am the shifting gears of childhood.
I look at the sky and feel as though it can lift me up and up. Where I can ease through the white fluffy clouds and possibly, possibly touch the stars.
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