Saturday, April 20, 2013

greener grass

(Or, Grandma's House)
The bad news is, it has taken this long for me to finish up vacay posts.  So quite possibly, these tulips are done blooming ferociously and something else entirely is hogging the colorful spotlight of spring in western Oregon.
The good news is, I have been sleeping more.  Or, at least, trying.  Or, at the very least, trying to concoct that magic combination that puts a teething Hazel to rest.
I often fall into a grass-is-greener approach to life.  It drives my husband bonkers and, too often, infuses my own life with a level of anxiety most people are better off without.  Nonetheless, at my mom's the grass was, well, greener.  And I was green with envy.  We'd been reading lots of springy books to Juniper.  Most involved daffodils and tulips and neon-green grass.  So, I thought it was particularly awesome to be in a place that actually has those things a fortnight after the spring equinox.  Aside from dandelions, in Wyoming we are still a good month away from blooms.  
My mom's yard is her thing, and it shows.  Juniper and I started calling my mom's backyard "The Magic Jungle."  There are all these little pathways around rose bushes and rhododendrons that lead to hidden sculptures and tucked-away benches.  Anyway, I must have been a tad obsessed because scrolling through my photos from Oregon, the only solid, in-focus image I have of my mom is her mowing the lawn.  Same with my Aunt.  I took fourteen pictures of her yard and not one of her or the family.  The shame.  I was too busy spinning with envy.  I'd forgotten what springtime in Oregon really means.
:: Gorgeous, sunny walk in the park.  I specifically wanted to see this magnolia.

Oh, those *pink* leathery petals.

Tulips, daffodils, dandelions and daisy-chains.  We were living up all the springtime fantasies.
:: We did some big-city shopping, taking walks downtown.
Specifically, bugs wanted to see a train.
A lifetime ago, I hopped a freight train to California that rumbled over these very same tracks.  That adventure ended in the death of a friend.  I had just turned eighteen.  An entire story in its own right.  But this last trip to my hometown had me thinking a lot about memory and place, place and memory.  And how closely the two are intertwined.  It's as though memory exists partly within our minds, partly within our bodies, and partly, it is etched in the landscape of our lives.  When you move away from that land, you are literally leaving a piece of yourself--your memory--behind.  In college, I read a book about how Native Americans who were forced away from their native scapes had trouble remembering their oral many stories were tied to that particular piece of land they had inhabited since the beginning.  And when they were torn away from that land, so much of their story stayed behind, or, quite literally, didn't make sense.      

:: When we first walked in the door to my mom's house, we stepped outside into her yard and almost instantly, Juniper said, "The hot tub!  The hot tub that changes colors!"  I was floored that she remembered.  We only soaked once when we were here last and never talked about it again.  Then she touched my mom's outdoor table and said, "This is where we eat corn!"  Granted it was less than a year ago, but she does this all the time.  She remembers weird little things, sometimes from well over a year ago.  We even think she remembers Osa, although we do talk about her a lot.  
:: We polished off our stay with a trip to the pizza joint that has a carousel.  Of course.  
Hazel ^ was born with a worried look on her face.  She truly was enjoying herself on the "ORSIES!!!"  
:: On the drive home, Juniper both surprised and entertained us by drawing pictures of each family member.  This one is my husband.  
And that's all she wrote.  Phew.


  1. Great photos, the grass has to be a little greener somewhere just to keep us motivated to do and try new things. Kids memory is funny sometimes, my daughter often remembers small details much like Juniper.

  2. aw a lovely thoughtful read x

  3. I totally know what you're talking about, leaving a piece of oneself behind. I now consider myself "from" two different places: the Pacific Northwest and Minneapolis. I suppose I will eventually consider the Rolling Prairies, MN "home" as well (we've lived in the area for almost 6 years), but I still feel like a transplant. Though in all honesty, I'm not even sure I WANT to be "from" where I'm at right now. I like our 15 acre patch and what we are doing, but I don't honestly like the region much.

    I've thought a lot about where my boys will feel like they are "from". This place? Really?? Especially because a sense of HOME and PLACE holds such power.

    And I totally get your envy of green and true spring. I don't know what spring is like in WY, but in lower part of MN it basically consists of mud and brown grass until summer suddenly hits like a light-switch being flipped. It is the weirdest thing. It has made me realize just how glorious the 3-4 months spring in the PNW always was. I just didn't know it. At least we get to visit it, right? And what a beautiful region to be from, stay connected to, and give to your children.


What say you? I want to hear it!