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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Are Memories Like Old Chairs?

Memories are like old chairs, haphazard, dusty and easily forgotten


I was cleaning out some computer files today and came across this piece of writing.
 Not even four years have passed since I wrote this.
What really caught my attention is that 
I did not recall this event until I was 2/3 of the way through the story.
Even then it was hard to conjure up what I had felt that day.
Why?
At the time, this obviously made such a deep impact on me 
that I wrote about it the same day.

I thought I would share it here, to honor this man under the yellow tarp.

I also came across some journal type writing. Far too raw for this space.
What struck me with most of those is that those writings could reflect today's life circumstances as well. 

What can be learned (if anything) from all of this?
What can be seen in stories lost or found or stories endlessly repeated?
What message can be embraced from the stories once remembered again?

Overall...do these lessons matter?

Only partially protected from damage caused by the elements
 
December 15, 2010

The early morning fog, peaceful in its uniform gray is suddenly alight with flashing blue lights, piercing in their intensity.
Coming upon a traffic signal, I witness a myriad of police officers and a yellow tarp covering a mound in the shape of a human being.
Is it?  Could it be?
The opposite traffic lanes are closed.  The officers are busy with measurements and interviews.  Orange cones mark a fallen sweatshirt.  Police cars block the intersections, but not the yellow tarp.
I want to know what is happening.  I wonder about the tarp.  I feel trapped in this morbid scene.  I inch forward, willing the light to turn green.  I wish to get away.  My stomach feels queasy and knotted all at once.  I feel angry that with all of the blocking of spaces, the police have left this shape, this human shape in the middle of the traffic lane for all to see.  I lament, why do they not block the yellow tarp?
Finally the green light shines through the fog and I am able to move down the highway.  I drive for three long blocks with no opposing traffic.  Just the quiet and the questions in the eastbound lanes.  As the miles pass, I slowly relax, but I cannot shake the image from my mind.  I see the yellow tarp for many, many miles.
Eventually, my day continues, but when I get in my car to drive home it all comes back to me.  I begin to wonder what the scene will look like on my return trip.  I am sure the lanes will be open.  I am convinced there will be no visual reminders of the morning’s event.  My mind wanders until the radio news story breaks into my thoughts:  A man, a Filmore resident hit while crossing the 126 highway at Central Avenue, 56 years old…dead on the scene.
Dead on the scene.
So, that was him under the yellow tarp.  A man the same age as my boyfriend.  A man with a family.  A man crossing the road during the holiday season.  Dead on the scene.

I suddenly realize that I will have to drive over the exact spot in the road as I make my way home.  I will drive over the spot where the yellow tarp man had laid dead.  I feel so uneasy, but there is no getting around it as there is but this one highway home.  I unconsciously wiggle, trying to shake off this realization.
As I come upon the spot, I look at the pavement.  I see nothing to show of the morning’s tragedy.  I hold my breath.  I drive over the spot of asphalt and glance quickly in my rear view mirror.  I still cannot detect anything that marks it as a place of sadness, a place of loss.
Then it hits me; others will travel back and forth, over and over, without knowing what took place.  An additional sadness washes over me as I marvel at the fleeting nature of life.  And I wonder, how many other spots on the road have I driven over?  But then I think it wise, not to know after all.

Old chairs held within, not to be disturbed
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2013

8 comments:

saskia said...

are there lessons to be learned from events such as the one you describe here? I don't know to be honest. We live, breathe, love, hate, work, sleep, eat, walk the streets, die on them....we notice one another,unless we don't.....
this particular day you did and so did we in a round-about way, if this is what it amounts to, so be it

seeing, noticing, sharing what we can, the story telling in words, images, through cloth and paper, music, whatever medium possible is how we cope, I guess

Debbie said...

I was a witness once to an accident where someone was killed in their car, I didn't see much but these incidents do prey on in your mind.
I too have journal pages that I wouldn't show but these things I write about are still happening its like you are going round and round on a spin cycle and can't get off.

KAM said...

thank you for re-visiting your words and pictures in this post. The lessons within the story are myriad and I appreciate the bits that are now on the "ideas to consider list" at the back of my journal; there is much writing for me to do having just had some holes punched in walls I have built for my self. Your words are truly a gift; thank you so much.
Kristin

Ms. said...

So it is my dear that, bumping and rolling along in the seeming real of day to day, we are suddenly reminded that nothing lasts. Over and over again the loss of material things washes through our sentient forms, making each waking, fully waked, moment more compelling, and less demanding. No need to cling or fret. Everything is already lost and gone and we go on. PS I Love YOU.

Nancy said...

Saskia~ Yes, ways to cope. Maybe ways to move through, to be - just is.

Debbie~ Yes, round and round. My mother had a little quote w/ a picture of earth: "Stop the world I want to get off"! It always stuck with me.

Kristen~ I love that you have a list of 'ideas to consider'. I'm glad my words felt like a gift to you :)

Michelle~ Yep, nothing lasts, so enjoy and live in the now. Love you too my friend.

Peggy said...

You write so beautifully, Nancy. xoxo

Nancy said...

Peggy~ You & I...we've got us a Mutual Admiration Society! Thank you for your kind words :)

handstories said...

You've triggered so many thoughts! I have been witness to a tfew errible accidents. One time, while assisting post-crash, the man telling me what awful things got him to that moment…I realized how little we really know about the world & it's beings that are next to us all day long. I'm trying to ask myself more often, "I wonder what their story is?"