Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Scrapbook of a Few Hours

I feel as though I might be the daughter of some wealthy land owner at the turn of the 19th Century. Not that my father is wealthy, though after three years of living in a college apartment, being back in this house certainly makes it feel that way. But the feeling really has less to do with the house itself and more to do with the atmosphere. I am wearing a sundress that makes me feel like I walked right out of the 1950s. I went outside with my sunhat and sunglasses in tow and lay on one of the white benches to read for a while. I read chapter 3 of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, and somewhere in the middle dosed off for a while. There is a short discussion in chapter 3 about memory books and what is held inside of them.

Here is mine for this day--for that brief soiree in the backyard this afternoon. No scraps or trimmings, only words and memories, which seem more substantial in the end anyway.

The sun is bright and hot. I sat directly under it until my skin was burning, and then for a moment longer before I sneaked into the shade for refuge.

And there, hanging from the porch cover is the wind chime, which rings majestically as the desert breeze caresses it along its way to a mysterious place that can be seen only in dreams. Birds are chirping as this same wind ruffles their feathers. It is their season--the season of life and growth--and they are so full of hope and gratitude that they cannot keep from singing.

The sun and the wind and the sound of the chime and bird songs cannot be clipped and pasted on a page, but if they could they would sit next to a small piece of my dress, which is orange and tan. And my hat, which is green.

And I would reserve a small corner for a timeless bouquet of blossoms and leaves from the desert plants that speckle the yard in true New Mexican fashion.

Then on the neighboring page, there would be a collage of images. Not images the way they exist in a photograph. But images they way they exist in a memory. The visual isn't entirely clear, but the feeling is as strong as it was in the moment it was first felt. Old wagon wheels, a thin and elegant roll of barbed wire, clay pots and a metal pitcher, my grandfather's old work bench . . .

Sitting here in this air, with this sun, these plants, and artifacts from a time almost forgotten by the people who tread the ancient earth, I don't feel afraid of today or tomorrow or even yesterday. Out here with the endless New Mexican sky unfolding me from my curled up stance, I experience peace. In its purest and truest form. Here in this yard, made sacred by the hands of its caretakers, I experience God.