I woke up to the sound of booming this morning, and after logic reassured me that there was going to be no zombie apocalypse, in my sleepy daze I commented to Andy, "they must be using dynamite in the river..."
He was confused, but understand that we live in Portland, a city crisscrossed by bridges while the Willamette makes its way to join the mighty Columbia of Lewis & Clark fame and then those homogenized waterways and tributaries all pour into the rough and tumble Pacific ocean, the ocean I spent so many of my childhood years running in and out of, screaming because the water was always so cold even in August and our toes would be red and numb and we'd head back to the house to check our crab pots and build a bonfire out of driftwood.
But you see, they're building these bridges on both sides of us, and to my brain it made sense that maybe they were exploding some bedrock or setting foundations or whatever else those bridge builders so expertly do. And I've been thinking as of late - What are my Foundations? Where is my Bedrock?
But it was thunder, and it reminded me of those late summer storms in Southern Oregon that bring with them flashes of lightning, when you'd hop in the car or Landcruiser and head up off Old Stage road or to the peak of Roxy Ann to catch better glimpses of the electric glory and pray to God that no forest fires are started.
There's a song that goes somewhere along the lines of As long as a live, whatever I do, I'm never going to forget this summer... And we all feel like that, don't we? Those summertime memories set into stone in our minds and hearts and we catch a smell of something cooking, or of lake water, or of summer rain, and it transports us back to that time when things may or may not have been easier in our lives, but for some reason, it's stuck with us.
The other day, I remarked to a friend (semi-narcisstically, but she's known me for 16 years and forgives me) via text that sometimes I feel like I'm a fraud, living a life that I feel disconnected from in some ways, and that the true me was left along the side of the road somewhere along this convoluted journey. Like I can't give 100% to the life I live now, to reality. I know you've felt this way too, right? We all have. Like my foundation or my bedrock is a little off-kilter or not quite settled in like it should be.
And now I'm getting older, chasing after toddlers and thinking about all that laundry to do or what we're going to eat for dinner, and then we catch a whiff of that distinct summer smell of dying grass and wilting flowers past their prime and hose water and ribs on the grill, and I remember.
The moment passes as quickly as it came, and I resume these activities that are Mothering, but there's a part of us that remains in that memory, like we're holding on for dear life to the old ways, the Me I was once was, hanging on to the person I was before I became Mama. But the reality is, self, that I AM that mama. Through and through. And I take such a joy and delight in my little daughters. And can I embrace it?
I cherish my memories, but what good are they, really? What good are they to the husband I love but who is not really a part of those memories, or the children who came way after the fact? It's bittersweet, but sometimes it's a good thing to put some distance between yourself and the past, and give it your best shot to make new, lasting memories with the man you chose and the children you birthed. A new Bedrock, a new Foundation. Something that will last after I'm far gone and my children have birthed children and who even knows what the world will look like?
But it wasn't explosions or dynamite rocking my dreams this morning, it was just a late summer storm, thunder sounding the alarm bell that you'd better pack these summer days in and enjoy them - and maybe even make some new memories, build a little bit more on that bedrock.
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