Friday, April 27, 2012

Field Tripping: Can You Spot the Anachronism?

By Sheilah

I’m thinking my son might make a good detective or a writer. His detailed description of Old Salem was telling in what he focused on.

“I was expecting all old houses and dirt roads, but NOOOO, there were air conditioners outside every house, cars on the streets, ‘No Parking’ signs, ‘45 Minute Only Parking’ signs, posters on every house…(he’s sounding personally affronted about now)….The least realistic was the print shop--because they had a volunteer dressed in fancy Nancy clothes. ‘Fancy Nancy? I say.’ Well her name was Nancy. (LMAO here.) There was another volunteer named Britt who talked like this: ‘I will now show you how to dye and make a paper something’… (spoken in dry monotone—he’s a ham, my son)… Because it’s like a print shop, in the 1700s. You don’t see those very often. So I think they just made up that they had a print shop in the 1700s. It had a machine that said built in 1891. Back then it wouldn’t have even been …Old Salem wouldn’t have bought something of that price.”

He returned with a box of ginger cakes that he loves, a wooden bookmark, a small bag made of rabbit skin with 2 souvenier pennies and 2 wax ants and a pin. I was admiring the ants, talking about how cool that he had a real something not plastic made in China, when he says, nope, they have China stamped on their butts. Dammit. Old Salem imports.

All kids naturally do what Dylan did, see what he saw (I hope)--that’s why they say the darnedest things. They see what’s here and now in front of them, all is new and curious and like other things, hence they’re naturally metaphoric. To recapture that awakeness to a new world, to see through a child’s eyes—that’s why I write. It is a strange and curious and beautiful and scary world in its awesomeness, one to not let my eyes brush over or close on. When I’m once again dulled and beaten by the harshness of life, I have to see anew. Religion, spirituality, exercise, new love, birth, death, pain, music, art—all these things can bring us back to the point of seeing anew. What wakes you?

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—        
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.        
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

--From Edna St.Vincent Millay’s “Renascence”

It’s the first anniversary of Mom’s death today. I know a mother’s love because I had one, and because I feel it for my son. It is divine, bigger than we are, and it must, it must, make us know God. When it’s gone, I don’t know what that means, but I’m left feeling that now, now, now and forevermore I don’t have anyone to take a bullet for me.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

--from “Dirge Without Music,” Edna St.Vincent Millay

1 comment:

  1. The feeling I will never be loved so completely, no matter what I may do. Yes, a mother's love. And I cried.


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