a reflection i wrote at the pool

When you leave a place you love it is an act of loving it even more. When you leave you are remembering. Driving away does not mean forgetting, it means finding a new place to keep all the old memories.

Like the memory of you and your sister making "recipe soup" in an old ten gallon bucket out back. Some marigold petals swirl in the murky water, pumped manually from the old pastel, blue hand pump. You add a handful of dirt, pretending to sprinkle in salt, then some maple leaves acting as basil. Ten more ingredients and some grass, to thicken it up. Stirring it with a stick that you save creation to creation. And then, too soon it seems, you are driving away and you realize you were only preparing and you place this memory in the kitchen cubbard next to the cereal when you arrive.

In the new city the old memories roll down the street alphabetically:
First grade, your name is on the board.
Grandpa's office at the highway department...hiding in the cabinets.
Hanging on the monkey bars with Allyssa until your hands blistered and peeled.
In trouble , again, in Junior High.
Jumping rope on the old back deck...cinderella dressed in yella'
Keeping a diary only for your sister to try to break into.
Learning to incorporate irony into your writing in high school.

Sure, some are forgotten, but you can't take everything--for what, then, would haunt your old room, and grandma's back porch, and your elementary halls, and your church nursery--No, you must leave something to return to--and your trunk will only hold so many, and your new 1 bedroom apartment will only store a few thousand.

And as you tuck a couple Sunday dinner conversations in the linen closet you smile. And the smile retruns when you open the refridgerator and playing wanna-berts in grandma's hallway falls out with the eggs. You're just getting homesick again when you throw back the bedsheets to discover a bike ride with your dad that turned into waiting our a thunderstorm on a neighbor's front porch, helmets perched under your arms.

And when you wake up to the sounds of splashing and laughter, you remember you stored a few summer trips to the pool, earned by snapping green beans, in your alarm clock, you know you'll be alright. And so you scoot Christmas programs at church, and Barbie films in the backyard over in the laundry room to make room for the new things you'll take with you when you leave this place.

And you finally understand the saying and my cup runneth over.


Kali said...

You should really put a warning at the top of these like "Warning: Kali should not read during work" so I can avoid these awkward moments where my eyes well up, etc. Of course, this time of year I can still blame it on the allergies, but stil...

This was really beautiful Kels. And it made me kinda homesick - but in a good way. Hope you had a good weekend. Love you.

Micah Wolf said...

I agree with kali...though instead of being at my desk I was at home, about to fall asleep and instead I am trying to soak it all in and possibly read it again...but then again I re-read it again and again later...very beautiful, very poetic...makes me very proud.

love you long time

*carrie* said...

This is beautiful, Kelsey, and I loved seeing the wedding/honeymoon pix! I subscribed to your blog awhile back so I wouldn't miss any updates and apparently it's not working. Hmm--I'll have to try setting it up again.