This Isn’t A Single Memory Belonging To Anyone—It Is The Memory Of Anyone Passing Through Corridors Of Time Without Ever Having Decided To Do So
At San Juan Island don’t correct my letters please nor burn in undone sun aren’t you coming with me mommy? Nine foxes and several the deer, can I pet it mommy? And the trees to the water, madronna. Remember that bored feeling and the further gravel at one’s feet, not white like desert rocks but otherwise not at all obscure to one’s circumstance. Standing outside of the cottage above the otter stink carrying water bottles, saying yes to dinner and to time and no to reading obituaries. Please come back— the nine foxes at dusk would never—ocean side anemones please and promise, under the Douglas-fir, flat and fragrant. Transparent fish and shrimp are large and saying the name of the larger sea star, pisaster. This is where I once dwelled, without wireless or cell phone. Soporific, occultist, binoculars and effervescent bumbling and bouncing. Lists are a large part of maintenance mind routines and walking scenery flips up and out upon— why has the body grown older. What is vibrancy? I want to be in it, not walking along a surface of anyone else’s fox face.
I must walk in the red fields a little longer. So what if I do. Away from some past unwilling. She walks by the cabin where once she lived ten years younger ago, as if that other self might still reside there and as if she might say something to the young mother with her toddler who was not yet walking but spoke of many things, peeled madronna bark and reminded one of all things possible in the recurring landscape of foxes, eagles, water, ferries, the Puget Sound, fir trees and none of it was real, she thinks, now walking past, none of it, not the young mother, not the toddler not yet walking, not the eleven year old and the 8 year old boys down at the tide pools with their father, not the lighthouse, and not re reading To the Lighthouse as a mother thinking about how the mother dies. The mother will die and his arms are out reaching for nothing in the dark. How predatory death feels today in the wake of her mother’s cancer, airports and chemotherapy, sitting with laptop on knees charting all of the medications, asking questions, while the children are in school, in another city, and one’s work is done in airports, in the evenings, in secrets akin to things one does not wish to know, but is made to know through the passage of time. And how common it all is, and how invisible, she thinks, as if shaking away a mirage of time, from the boy whose blond curls are now shorn and he stands in hat and glasses very excitedly pacing or stroking the tide pools reciting a series of Latin names with a precision and speed both impressive and disarming. The younger child, who was not yet born those ten years ago seems more to glide through the sea air with an infectious laugh and eyes that gleam as he looks at his brother. His eyelids are copper as if painted and his eyes smolder beneath the brow of dark curls.
When she writes how it is common and invisible she thinks about how she has stopped recording their every endeavor and so it seems important now to write that the older child very excitedly paces and strokes the tide pools and recites a series of Latin names and the younger child appears almost burnished and copper as he gleams at his brother. And their father is also still boyish in a way that surprises her each day the way he both glides and attacks the seashore as if he could ravish and protect, there is never enough of it, time turning over rocks and standing in the bright sun which gleams on the water. She enjoys the scene more from a distance but what is this distance, beyond the fact that a small spot of sun is glorious and a longer jaunt is a literal headache? From where comes this fair skin and delicate composition which must rest behind a ledger of paper, fan, sunhat and book. She cannot describe herself, except to say that she is no longer the young mother of small toddler as she walks past her own apparition in cottage “E” for Eggreia.
But this isn’t memoir, this isn’t a single memory belonging to anyone it is also the memory of anyone passing through corridors of time without ever having decided to do so, and this may sound ridiculous, but she needed some time away from the boisterous bombastic talk of the many in order to think and therefore to exist. When she ceases to exist begins the walk past one’s apparition of oneself.