Friday, June 10, 2005
Five Things That I Miss From My Childhood

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later no matter how far I try to duck under the radar. I've been tagged by Spirit of Owl. Ahem! Just be forewarned that I shall repay the favor in my own time and in my own way when you least expect it. . .

Five things that I miss from my childhood :

1. Fireflies.

My sister and I used to sit on the steps in the early evening, waiting for twilight when the fireflies would come out. The scent of fresh cut grass, the singing crickets and tree frogs, the blossoming dogwoods and azaleas, and the golden blinking of the first firefly of the night--that's what I remember most. We were goddesses, dressed in gowns of rose petals and irridescent raindrops, laughing and chasing the lightening bugs, carefully placing them in our fairy lanterns. Afterwards we would lay on the grass, counting to see who had caught the most. Being polite children, we always thanked them for playing with us and released them into the night so they could return to the Moon Mother.

2. Rain Dancing

As a child I was fascinated by storms and loved the heavy stillness just before a downpour. It would grow very quiet outside and the sky would take on a purplish grey color. Then the wind would start to blow, and the trees begin to sway wildly. And finally the rain would spill down.

My sister and I would put on our swimsuits and dash out in the rain and dance around until some adult would eventually start worrying about us catching colds or being struck by lightening and make us come inside. I had read somewhere that lightening loved people with red hair and that redhaired witches made powerful weather mages. This, of course, pleased me to no end, and I would stretch out my arms and try to call the lightening to me. Sometimes it would crack down very close, sending my sister and I jumping backwards into the carport, shivering in nervous exhilaration.

3. Being An Artist

The soft chalky feel of pastels, the roughness of charcoal, the misty flow of watercolors, and the smudgy smoothness of pencils--drawing always made me feel fierce and dreamy and passionately alive. Whenever I sat down to create something, the rest of the world simply melted away leaving only pure imagination and sensation. I was never satisfied with anything I actually produced because it never matched what I saw in my mind. But the process of creating had me hooked.

I used to pretend that I would one day be an amazing artist and hop trains from town to town with just my sketchbook and a little suitcase. I would stay for a while in each place, working small odd jobs and drawing the people I met, astonishing them with my talent. Inevitably someone would fall in love with me, and we would have a brief but intense romance before I sadly had to move on again. Dramatic little thing, wasn't I? Anyway I miss that feeling of losing myself in something beautiful and being perfectly in the moment.

4. Living The Magic

After we lost our mom, my sister and I shared a private, magical world that no one could touch. We were goddesses who looked after ladybugs and caterpillars, mermaids who sang starfish back to life, and high-spirited horses that could fun faster and fly higher than any mortal. We feasted on acorns, chestnuts, and blackberries and drank honey from honeysuckle blossoms. We were friends with the King of Cats, the White Owl, and the ancient Oak People who lived in our yard. If a breeze caught up a whirlwind of autumn leaves, we knew it was a Sylph playing with us. We called on Pixies to help us with our housework and left offerings of walnut shells filled with peanut butter or honey for the Faerie Folk. Iris and I found we could wake up in each other's dreams at night, and we learned how to sleepy travel together to other realms.

I miss the freedom of trusting the imagination and being open to the unexpected. I forget sometimes how worlds open up for people who aren't afraid, even if just for a moment, to look and believe. For me, the best part of being a child looking at the most ordinary and seeing the extraordinary.

5. My Parents

My mom died when I was five, and my dad when I was nine. She was 41 and he was 60 when I was born. It amazes me how much I still miss them, even as an adult. Admittedly my memories are fragile--I had them for such a short time that they are like paper dolls with little substance to flesh them out. I have to rely on photos and my father's paintings and the memories of my older sister to make them real.

My father I remember the best because he was with me longest. I can close my eyes and almost feel his hand in mine as we walk along the railroad track together, gathering armfuls of Queen Anne's Lace. Or see myself working beside him on my own little easel while he paints. My mother is harder--only the sensation of being held and touched--and even that is almost gone now.

Recently one of my cousins from my father's side of the family found me on the internet and has been sending me emails and wonderful old pictures of my father, grandmother and great-grandmother. It's been such a bittersweet experience. Sometimes I'm jealous of her memories and the deep sense of family and connectedness that she has. And yet I love her for sharing it with me now. So conflicting. Last week, this cousin saw a photo I had taken of myself standing in the wind, and she gave me a gift. She told me I look like my mother.

And it made me realize that even if my memories fade away, my parents left me a legacy to know them by. All I have to do is gaze into the looking glass to see.

Posted by Hello
Memories and musings shared by Juno
18 Cared to comment... Thank you!

I'm a 40-something writer, artist, and Jill-of-All-Trades. For me, magic is looking at the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary. My writing tends to take me to unexpected places--not so surprising when I think about it. I had an unusual growing up and have always chosen the offbeat over the "safe". I prefer interesting people over beautiful ones, and I am fascinated by people's stories. What I love most about life is its glorious imperfections and fantastic plot twists.

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