Saturday, November 19, 2011

Of memories and old friends

            The woods around Unity Village are so different now!  Wind has taken down almost all the leaves, and the brownish-greys and tans and purples deepen against the copper colors of the forest floor. I surprised a large white-tailed buck yesterday, or should I say we surprised each other; the wind was strong, and I took the rustle of his careful steps to be just another squirrel scavenging in the leaves. We both jumped when we saw each other. He was the same grey-brown of the tree barks, and melted in perfectly.
            The big surprise to me, though, are the Daddy Long-legs, lots of them, picking their way along the gravel paths and among the leaves, their incredible two-inch front legs poking and feeling their way in front of them like a blind man’s cane. I wonder if they see at all, and what they are doing. They aren’t acting like they’re hunting; they just seem to be evaluating a trail amongst the litter, and a snail could outpace them. What happens when it snows? Do they hibernate, or are they simply using their last days to wander aimlessly amongst the woody debris, their internal clock slowly winding down?

                  This has been an exciting time for me. The volume of writing required for these classes is incredible – nine papers this semester, a total of 92 pages on various subjects. I’m not quite halfway through.
           And with this outpouring, welcome personal changes, too. For instance, I came to realize that I didn’t remember much about my childhood; a period of abuse in my young adulthood had sealed off my memories, particularly of my early years, which my abuser vilified. I had left him, even genuinely forgiven him, but had little idea of the extent of the damage that remained. So, thanks to this wonderful thing called the Internet, I was able to email my childhood friends and ask them what I was like back then. Their kind answers and support touched off a flood of memories, and more come each day. I feel more centered, more integrated than I have in the last forty years! There is real joy there. A lot is still a surprise, but I’m feeling very whole, very healthy.
            Among others, I connected with the image of my Godfather, a kind but stern man who was more my father than my biological one. I wish I could tell him I loved him, but he is long gone. I know he loved me, although he never said anything either. But in addition to church, he taught me the slide rule (I still use it), did science fair projects with me, engineered a couple of evenings showing us the stars through a friend’s telescope, and even had his lab assistant escort me to the Senior Prom when my boyfriend suddenly became unavailable. I married one man who looked just like him, and may be marrying another who shares the same fine-boned build – and is a scientist as well. The memories are precious, and they have now found their rightful place in my heart.

            This has been a wonderful few months. I have had the privacy I need to churn through both the changes and the work, and now I will return home to my beloved mountains to take the next quarter online, and be with Larry. Council has approved our sawmill site, but fortunately the snow will keep us from having to start immediately, since I’ll be glued to the computer and won't be able to do that much. The end of March will find me back in Missouri for Spring Term.
            Life is good!