Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn's Leaving

Oasis Feature: Goodbye's Returning

I'm back from Michigan, and am still processing the astonishingly vivid autumn week. I decided to take an intentional walk down Memory Lane, and found a richly intense source of personal history. I highly recommend the experience of living in your own memoir by re-visiting the people and places that impressed themselves into your memory at an earlier time in your life.

On Memory Lane, I visited Apple Charles' orchard, and discovered a former high school friend is Apple Charlie. I walked through a pumpkin patch, and remembered the great pumpkin, and our farm fund raising activity where all proceeds went towards the purchase of a new motorcycle for the Pittmann girls.  I strolled the Parkview cemetery grounds while Brian Alexander filmed for the B roll that will be shown during the credits for the documentary. (This film is being made about my mother and her partner and the events surrounding their murder.) I met up with Lillian L., one of  Mom's motorcycle buddies, who still rides at 80 years old, and had a delightful lunch filled with her entertaining chatter. I went to the scene of the crime, rather, our farm house, and met the new owners who generously showed me all the changes they had made to the interior of the house.  I returned to our first house on West Point street in Taylor where I lived with my family until I was three years old. Located behind the house, I discovered Mom's Siesta Motel has been converted to a business office building where people siesta no longer. I walked around the corner to Mack's Shack, which is now Kelly's Bar, and remembered the first time I passed for eighteen, and reflected how once when I was sixteen years old I sat at the bar and had a beer with my father. I felt so grown up.

Courageously returning to these specific locations of my personal history reminded me to embrace the past, which includes as they say both the bitter and sweet. Join me as I share memory moments in the next couple of posts in the Oasis Feature; Goodbye's Returning.

The Thing Is

by Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
"The Thing Is" by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002.


  1. I look forward to reading more, Cynthia, and I love the poem.

  2. I too love the poem ... and her words express a feeling that is familiar to me. Thank you Cynthia for your always kind and supportive comments - always zinging in just when I need them most. xo Susan & les Gang

  3. Welcome home! Or rather your new home. It's good you got to visit your old home for your memoir and got to see some leaves. Bass's poem is the perfect accompaniment. I do wonder how you withstand your past and maintain a positive attitude to life. You too must have the heart of a poet. It's nice to have you back.

  4. In returning to each ending, the beginning of a new thread ensues, one that promises newer perspectives to behold the melancholy.

    I suppose we never outgrow what grips us in the hollows, we merely cocoon it even further and make it our very own.

  5. Susan, thanks, ideas are churning! I know how you also connect to poetry and can relate to how the poem describes grieving so perfectly.

    Susan, I'm glad I connected with you, through the poem and the comments I left on your blog. xo to les gang.

    Thanks Sarah, I process thoughts and feelings so often....but I genuinely value joyful feelings and prefer not to wallow. Still sometimes I confront the residue. I appreciate your goodwill and kind thoughts.

    Anil,what a lovely expression about how we incorporate living and loss into our lives. Thanks for coming over and reading.

  6. How are you, friend?

    Glad to land on your exciting poetry land here.

    Welcome linking in a poem to our potluck today, Thanks in advance!

    Some awards will be assigned upon participation.

    I signed in to follow your blog.
    Welcome follow us back.

    First time participants can simply submit an old poem.


    love your blog,
    Glad to meet.
    thanks for the inspirations and love.
    u rock.

  7. I hadn't visited in a while so am working backwards thru your posts...Memory Lane, both brave and adventurous of you and so fulfilling in the end.


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