found these fantastic pix of my grandparents (maternal) holding me in Racine WI in 1972. 41 yrs ago
Spent a couple days at Sitka Center, at Cascade Head, near Otis so M could teach a class on memoir and personal narrative. We've been there before, but under different circumstances. (She was there was in Dec 2010 for a month-long residency. I went out to visit her at the very start for a duration of 18 hours or so. She called me a couple days after I returned home to tell me she was pregnant, a revelation that wreaked havoc on her ability to finish the work she hoped to finish at the residency.)
We arrived on a Tuesday. We stayed in the same cabin she had been in before. It was my job to watch N while she was teaching. Though at the mercy of his interior clock, he and I managed to leave the cabin several times, to walk and explore. The trees were alive and magnificent, humming with a low steady pulse, all patience and grace. Mist and rock.
Felt things shift inside me, in the way that only certain spaces can unlock. I find myself here again, I thought. Fear of X holding me in tinny constraints. Seething at Y for crimes they're not aware they commit. Resorting to Z to blunt entry points. Lather, rinse, repeat. How have these patterns not been ground to nothing by time? By directing a feature? By being a parent? How am I the exact same person as at age 4? How have all these insights not taken hold since the last time they revealed themselves to me? And on and on and once more into the breach. (note: I won't get into the particulars of these items since they are meaningless to anyone but me, but I will offer that one of them involves the insidious pavlovian iphone/fb/instagram loop that I lose daily rivers of time to.)
Mostly on these walks N would say "hold you" (which means "hold me") and so I would carry him on my chest, his weight spread un-uniformly across my chest and back. On Thursday, as we returned from Knight Park (a spot that my father and I had been too years prior on a kayaking expedition), heading up the rain-spattered Cascade Head trail as it runs along Savage Road, I was able to set N down for awhile. He walked a few steps and then became entranced by something a few feet off the path. "What's that?" he said and walked toward it. I grabbed him, my child, and directed him forward. "No I said. You're already on the path. This is the way we go home".
*all pix by bp*