Sunday, March 9, 2014

Winter Drags It's Beaten Body Away

   Time tumbles along while we flutter about with our busy and important tasks from day to day.  In October 2013 there was a visit to Upstate  New York which included a rustic wedding in a campground in Maryland that involved two grooms one being my dear cousin Michael.  It had been years, I suppose it was my cousin Mark's wedding, since my Eichler side of the family had been gathered together, or at least when I've been there as well.   We followed my cousin's wedding with a three night stay in Fly Creek, NY, courtesy of a generous Quaker descendant of Emily Dickinson.  Ms. Dickinson relinquished to us her property for three nights so the family could congregate.
   Fly Creek is a stone's throw from Cooperstown and the farm in Edmeston where my ancestors had toiled until misfortune saw it slip away from the family.  My mother had spent a lot of her formative years with her Grandma on that farm.  She drove Eli and I there one evening for a tour of the old farm (from the road) and the house in town where Grandma Rood and her husband moved after he was no longer able to tend to the farm.  That house in town is what I recall from being a child, the smell of antiquity, her giant gray furry cat Chester, the cabinet filled with a collection of China trinkets and salt/pepper shaker sets.  At the farm, a mailbox by the road still has the Rood family name on it, my Grandmother's sister in law still living there.  I returned the following morning at dawn with my Mamiya C330 to take a few photographs.  It was not the best strategy as the farm sits in a valley and was not going to be sufficiently illuminated until afternoon.  As it were my photographs are back-lit and don't really represent the farm very well.  I did manage to get a few satisfying images of the sun illuminating trees on Wilkinson Hill Road behind the farm. 
   That brief visit was in celebration of a birthday for my Mother who would appreciate not being reminded of the number of years she has accumulated.  Along with Eli and my mother and step father were my sister Caitlin, step brother Andrew and his lady friend Catherine as well as our nephew Miles.  I hadn't seen Miles in a few years and had missed his transition from teenager to adulthood.  This may have marked the first time that the age gap had come into play.  I was aware that Miles was now 21 and may have better things to do than be cooped up in a crossroads town with his old Grandparents, aunts and uncles.  He managed to stick it out alright.   It was great to see everyone and spend a few days together. 
   In January there was also a visit to Maine amidst one of the more bitterly cold and snow sodden winters they have endured in some years.  Of course when Eli and I arrived, the weather had suddenly turned and most of our days there temperatures were in the 40's to 50's and the great snow mountains along the roads and in parking lots were quickly retreating, giving off a dense fog that hung heavy in the woods.   It wasn't until I was on the bus returning to the airport to fly back to the Pacific Northwest that snow again began to fall heavily.
   Our time in Maine was split between seeing our friends and visiting with my father and step mother with whom we stayed with most nights in Ogunquit.  The house was built by my father's parents when I was just a little boy.  I had spent many vacations there, playing on the beaches, lounging on the deck drinking soda, playing with toy cars on the stair landing. 
   The house overlooks the Ogunquit tidal river and despite the encroaching expansion of the hotel below, still has a beautiful view of the Ogunquit beach and village below.  It is a special place to spend some time in any season and a place I can visit and feel the connection between the person I am today, and the small boy with light brown hair I was so many years ago.
   My folks were generous with sharing us with everyone else and even rented a car for us to be able to roam around New England to try to fit visits in with everyone.  We were able to see a lot of great people, although the visits were brief. 
   February's theme was hernia repair surgery which happened on the 6th and followed by a week of convalescing around the house.  The surgery was in the morning on a Thursday.  Eli drove my van and we arrived just before 7am.  The morning was filled with hours of waiting in a room for the anesthesiologist who was running late.  When I awoke I was in a daze.  People were talking about snow.  I had to wait another few hours in the recovery room plugged into a saline drip.  Eventually the nurse offered to walk down the hall with me and upon accomplishing this I was granted my freedom.  I dressed and was wheel chaired down to the exit where Eli was waiting with the van.  The snow was whipping around and traffic was snarled throughout the city.  Eli drove us carefully back to the neighborhood on the surface streets.  We made a stop to the drug store for my narcotics prescription and then to the comforts of home.  I was so glad to be back in our bed, with our blankets pulled up high.
   The following four days were spent in a drug induced haze which was like being covered in a soft blanket and walking about like a ghost only partially participating in the environment I was in.   I would try to read but didn't have the concentration for it.  I spent time looking up cameras I wish I could have and looking at photography web sites.  Once I was off the narcotics and the haze lifted I began a writing project reflecting on my friend Damon and my move to California in 1989.  It's still a work in progress at this point.  It may eventually show up here although it will be substantial enough that a blog post might not be the appropriate outlet for it.
   That project was brought on by Damon's birthday in January and my consequential effort to complete a mix cassette tape I had been working on for him since the previous spring. 
   I began thinking about that time in our lives and what it felt like, what the Bay Area was like back then too.  Our lives had at one time been tightly woven when we had come of age and formed our opinions of the world together.
  I used Google Earth to find locations and names of places that were prominent landmarks during our time in Oakland.  I looked up some history to see the timing of historical events and how they overlapped and how those overlaps affected outcomes.  It was truly an interesting time to be in Oakland, California.  I have often thought maybe I had made the wrong decision to leave when I did in 1992.  But I needed to change things that were going on around me.  I had been welcomed into another creative tribe in Arcata, California.  They were all in college and busy being educated and creative.
   So there's a glimpse, a sample, a window.  Today it's a traditional winter grey outside and I'm pondering a visit to the darkroom for the afternoon.  My surgery has been healing nicely and I'm nearly back to my self.   I am mounting a campaign for things to happen, changes, evolutions through cross pollination in 2014.  I will say no more until the cocoon breaks.  Thanks for reading. 

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