How quickly you return to me
After so long an absence
You were my girlhood crush
Our mothers were best friends
You probably thought I was just
A silly little girl
And I was.
You seemed so
Much older than me
Remember that night at the fair?
We rode so many rides
Just you and me
What were we, 10 and 13?
Swirling on the Matterhorn I thought,
How much I loved you
I told you
We were supposed to return with the tickets
Instead of using them all ourselves
Our moms weren’t as mad as I thought they’d be
I was sorry we made them worry
But oh what fun
Being next to you.
Then 3,000 miles apart
We wrote, years passed.
Tonight a TV show brought you back to me
A sick child
Vague symptoms of a mystery illness
Poor respiration, salty skin. . .
Ah yes, I remember
I answered the phone when your mom called
Joy and pain
In a split second
Almost before she spoke
That it was her and you were gone
She came to visit us you know
Now she’s gone too.
So many years have passed
Is anyone else left to remember you?
Gary, my friend
I loved you then
And I treasure the memory of you.
While driving past a park the other day I saw something that took me back many years to my youth. Days later I glanced down into a ravine and there it was again, immediately transporting me back to my first year in the Pacific Northwest.
We were Florida transplants, used to seeing palm trees and the concrete houses of our neighbors through the chain link fence surrounding our suburban Miami home. My brother, sister and I were now wilderness explorers in the woods beyond the little stream at the edge of our new back yard. We pretended to be younger versions of Lewis and Clark, though we were more familiar with Ponce de Leon. We delighted in hiding among the giant evergreens, finding bouncy limbs among the alders and skunk cabbage was an exotic new discovery.
In those few split seconds that it took for my eyes to recognize the emerging pungent leafy plant, I was transported to a distant time and remembering the pleasure of childhood discovery again. I felt that exciting sensation of being in a place where everything around you is new and full of wonder. I am fascinated by the way our memory is tied to our senses. How random sights, sounds, smells and even the feel of the air can cause us to recall experiences long forgotten with all their attending emotions. To that end, even the insignificant skunk cabbage can be a source of joy.