A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winds of Change Without Awareness--A New Year's Eve Once Upon a Time

The Moon is the most common major object viewe...Image via Wikipedia

          I try to remember but I can't.  It's the exact year that I don't remember, or most of the details of that evening.  I do know it was New Year's Eve.

          I was married to my second wife, Susan, at the time.  We were in Tennessee at my parents' house.  This is where we typically spent New Year's Eve.  It was the more happening place between going to Richmond, Virginia, where her parents lived, and being with my family, who were the more fun party people.

          My father was still alive at the time, our kids were still babies, and my wife and I were still in our thirties.  The house was aglow with lights and music and chatter and laughter as the festivities pressed on toward the turning over of one year to the next.  Everyone was having a grand time.

         At one point Susan and I decided to go out into the dark quiet of the night to take a break from the activity in the house. It was unseasonably warm that end of December night.  Strangely and unseasonably warm--more like a summer night, but with the crisp dryness of autumn.

         In silence, we strolled into the expansive back yard to a point that was about fifty yards from the house and sat down side by side in the desiccated winter grass.  Wordless, we smoked a joint under a cloudless starry sky and basked in the comforting balminess of the evening breeze.  Gazing upon the big house with lights in every window silhouetted against the black night sky, I slipped into a meditation.

        Here from where we sat in the back yard, the lights, the house, the people seemed so far away, and it was only Susan and I with our life together beautiful and filled with so much promise.  A feeling of serenity and security enveloped me as I clutched Susan's hand.  I felt that now was forever and this moment would have no end.

         Then a whoosh of warm wind swept over us and I felt exhilarated.  With a deep breath I leaned forward to breathe in the moment.   It was only Susan and I.  Our world was perfect.  A mental image of a distant future filled my mind--a place peaceful and beautiful where my wife and I would grow older together and watch our grandchildren grow and we would fade into the twilight years happy with the satisfaction of dreams fulfilled.

          That was then, one moment on a New Year's Eve many years ago.  Not too many years after that night it ended.  Things changed and became different.   I'm not even sure what happened or why it happened, but only that it did happen.   Susan left and what we had was over.  Any dreams she had once had about us were simply shrugged off as she moved on, leaving me to shoulder the burdens of memory and the confusion of questioning why things had come to the point they had reached.

        It was one New Year's Eve when things were weirdly warm and sublimely wonderful.  It was only an illusion--my personal illusion I guess.  The winds bring change that we don't even realize, things we don't understand even after they've blown past us.  Life sweeps us forward to where the next adventure awaits.  There is time for memories, but no real time for memories.  The memories are only illusion.

       A new year is a new year and an old year is an old year and all of the years just blend together.   Our minds capture certain memories isolated without reference other than the years that came before and the years that followed, whichever those years might have been.  And even then we sometimes don't know which years or why.

      Capture this moment in time.  Savor it and breathe it in deeply.   This is the last time you will ever be here.





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16 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is a beautifully written story Lee. I'm sorry that you had to go through such a difficult time. Hope you're creating many new memories with your lovely wife tonight! I know you just celebrated a special anniversary, and I hope the celebration continues! Happy New Year to you and your family! Julie

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great post Lee, yes we do get special moments in our lives that we have to cherish.

I wish you a Happy New Year and a BIG thank you for your continued support.

Yvonne.

susan said...

This blog expresses so well the way moments can hang precious in the air and what happens later cannot take that away though it does feel like that sometimes |I know.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

LEE ~
In my opinion, this might be the very best thing you have ever written for any of your blogs. (The only thing I would say that might compete with it is that flash fiction piece you wrote titled "Nothing".)

Wow! McBuddy Boidman, you can really string them thoughts with words when ya wanna.

Color me "VERY impressed!"

Yak with ya next year, Bro.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Julie-- Thanks for the well wishes and for your support over the past year.

Yvonne -- You have had your own perplexing things to deal with I know and I wish you much happiness in your future.

Susan -- We have all had our sad times to deal with but overall the good times outweigh the bad for most of us.

StMc-- A compliment coming from you is always something I treasure as I feel like I can always count on you for an honest assessment of how you feel. Thanks for the encouragement.

Lee

Kelly Robinson said...

Having known you then makes it all the more poignant. It's tricky when later events color over what was once a good memory. Is it still, technically, a good memory? Perhaps, in isolation. But nothing exists in a vacuum, so we end up with these complicated memories and feelings. Well done job, Lee, with articulating that confusion.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I love this story, beautifully and vividly written. It's a good reflection on how we must appreciate each special moment in our lives, and not to take anything for granted.

You're now getting me motivated to write some memoirs... I've been hesitant due to fear of going back to feel the pain--removing old scars, but it might actually be therapeutic. Thanks for sharing this episode of your life, and again, for your friendship and mentoring.

Happy New Year, Lee. Blessings, health and happiness to you and your family in this 2012!!

Doris

Old Kitty said...

Oh I hope you only have happier New Year's Eves to remember! I'm very sorry for all the sadness in between but sublime moments when all seems possible and the world is truly your oyster are definitely for savouring!

Take care and Happy 2012! x

Karen Lange said...

The older I get, the more I savor moments - particularly those with family. Thanks for sharing, Lee.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

You are such an amazing writer! I can feel every bit of this.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

A great post Lee, you always give me much food for thought. Happy New Year!

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for the encouragement and kind words.

Kelly -- You make a good and interesting point. This is a good memory colored by what came later.

Doris -- I'd say go for it. You are basically writing memoir anyway on your blog.

Lee

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Those moments of bliss are fleeting. We can't hold them any more than we can grab onto the wind.

Play off the Page

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I'm amazed. You write soooo beautifully. The first sentence pulled me in and I just didn't expect what I discovered near the end - so that's a good writer.

Things can change so swiftly and leave us with only memories.

Have a happy New Year.

GRACE PETERSON said...

I was going to say, "that was some good weed" but then I thought better of it. LOL

Yes, it seems the older we get the more the moments just meld into one big heap o' history. This is what makes writing such a therapeutic endeavor. It allows us to hold on and savor it all a little longer.

Great post!

Arlee Bird said...

Mary -- Memories are a bit like the wind.

Peaches -- You give me honor with your comment--incentive to keep writing. Thank you.

Grace -- The way I keep forgetting things anymore I should be writing more of my life down.

Lee