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Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

-Mary Oliver

Yes.  That.  “I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance.” Oh, yes.  I know that one.  Periodically, like now, I sort of fold inward and read books, kind of like swimming underwater.  I read and read and read and read and come up for air and food, and submerge back into the book(s) again and read and read and read and read.   I did that with Jane Fancher‘s “Uplink,” “Ground Ties” and “Harmonies of the Net,” reading three rather large books in as many days.  Or rereading all 14 of C. J. Cherryh‘s Foreigner books one right after another, or Seanan McGuire‘s “October Daye” series.  It’s like I’m putting the clutch in and taking myself out of whatever gear of real life I was in, preparatory to shifting into another gear.

As advertised, my cousin drove over from New Mexico yesterday, and we went out to eat at Red Lobster.  The folks and I went with him in his car and my brother drove over from the shop and met us.  Afterwards, the folks and I went back to their house and my mom and her nephew “caught up” on everything.  It was strange to sit across the room and listen to her and him talking about things from her childhood and his. (When I was growing up, she never talked much about her childhood, and it was not something we asked about.)  As they talked,  I found out things I hadn’t known.

Florence age 4 1928

~1928, aged 4

One remark she made really gave me pause.  She said whenever she would get toys, she would never play with them because she didn’t want to mess them up or break them. While she did grow up during the depression, they lived on a farm and always had enough of the things they needed.  And it wasn’t that she didn’t have any toys, because she did.  She just wanted to keep them pretty and new looking.

She still has a little tin turtle she got about aged 2, which her father brought back for her from a trip into town to get supplies.  It was rather poignant to hear her speak of it as her father was killed in 1927 when she was about 2-1/2 years old, and she only remembers seeing him once, just after he died.

MM

EC 1887-1970

My cousin’s mother, SE,  is my mother’s oldest sister, the fifth child after four boys. When SE was very young, she was sickly and because the family lived out on a farm, with nearly 20 miles of unpaved roads between them and the nearest town, her father sent her to live in town with his unmarried sisters, EC and ME, where she could be near a doctor.  SE was young enough when they took her and stayed with them long enough that when she was finally able to return home, she missed them.

EE J

ME 1881-1969

She was all right during the day, but in the evenings, she would “pine” for them and her father couldn’t bear to see it, so he let his sisters take SE and raise her.  By then, SE had two younger sisters.  When SE married, she and her husband lived with the sisters until they could save up the money to build a house.  ME eventually came to live with them until her death, and I remember her well as a tall, slender, woman with silver hair she wore in a French twist.  The above are pictures I took of pictures that my aunt SE had.  The originals would have been taken around 1900.  EC worked, and ME kept house.  Supposedly, EC was the first woman ever to work in a bank in the town where they lived, and worked for many years for a state senator.  EC eventually married, but ME never did.

It’s interesting the way faces repeat through the generations.  I can see ME in my mother and EC in an aunt, her daughters and another cousin.

 

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