One day, in 2003, my Old Guy and i went for a drive in the country. This is something we did often, whenever the weather and his job would allow it. He was raised in Alaska and was totally in love with the thousands of back roads he could drive on. Alaska, then, did not offer many back roads you could travel on just for the fun of it.
This day, we were in the hills above Myrtle Point, Oregon, an area i had spent a lot of my childhood in, but had not seen since i was a kid. As we drove along i realized things were looking a little familiar, this curve with that tree sitting just in that spot, that old barn out there, falling down. Then, there on the left side of the road, a sign, Laverne Park. Laverne Park. My heart jumped and i got a thrill of goose bumps. Laverne Park was where my family would get together for 4th of July picnics, and family reunions, or where we would all meet up whenever uncles and aunts and cousins would come to town. Laverne Park. One of the very few places of my childhood where i was happy.
We turned in. Oh it was different of course. A new wider paved road, bigger parking lot. In the "Ago" the road was narrow and just dirt, and the parking lot was a big wide graveled spot. But the same trees were there. Big old trees that now had signs warning people to keep watch as the trees were so old that they were no longer very stable. I loved those trees. I remember standing next to them, putting my face on their trunks and breathing in the earthy smell of them. I used to talk to those trees. They heard all my woes and all the magic in my heart.
We drove on up through the picnic area, and there! there on the right, under that big old mrytle tree is where we always tried to set up for our picnics. The old wooden tables were long gone, replaced with new painted fancy ones, but i knew right where they used to sit. There was a big family gathering going on there, under our tree, and watching them, those people laughing and singing, the kids running and playing, put me back to my time, and i remembered. I remembered my daddy, drinking beer and singing, playing his guitar. My grandma Lily singing with him. My mom and aunt Norma fixing food. Cousins all around me.
We parked in the lot, right off of the edge, where we could see the river below. I remembered there being a trail there, that ran along the river. A narrow little dirt trail that cousin Bobby and i used to run back and forth on. And that i would slowly walk along when i was alone for a while.
I walked down to the trail, took off my sandals, and put my bare foot on the dirt of the path. I walked along a few paces, and i felt her/me as she ran by, laughing, hair flying behind her/me. I felt the magic of being little me again. The wind of our passing was warm and sweet and it filled my heart and overflowed my eyes. I was crying. I felt so full. So thankful to have that memory, when i had so few.
I've started remembering more now. It's like that instant, that tiny bit of time when i traded time with myself, released them from the place i had hidden them away. I still don't remember alot, but there are more all the time, and i wallow in them in great pleasure. I wrap them around myself and hug them close. They warm me. They tell me that yes, i did exist before the ugliness and hurt. There was a little me who laughed and sang.