a fact about me: I am not a nostalgic person. I hate dwelling in the past and holding onto memories. memories are snapshots that are here and then gone, something to be appreciated but not lived in. recently, however, nostalgia has hit me like a truck. maybe it’s because I finally feel the weight of a severed childhood, a guest in a home I haven’t seen for months. memories now come to me every so often, their presence knocking the air out of my lungs. I can feel them, live in them again for a brief moment in time.
shenandoah – hikes side by side with my family. a stray branch adopted as a walking stick. skyline drive. the sharp turns and curves of the road. the reds and oranges of fall foliage. wide-eyed deer and cubs with their mama bears. fields of queen anne’s lace. dinner cooked over a fire. nights wrapped in a sleeping bag. the hum of insects. the views at the top that stretched as far as the eye could see, bleeding into the mountains and horizon.
the dutch market – trademark of my town. hot pretzels on a thursday afternoon. the restaurant. chocolate-chip pancakes bigger than my child face, made messy with syrup. the chatter and welcome choas of customers, yelling out to the the butcher with his glass display. wandering the endless aisles of treats and baked goods.
summers in ohio – church camp. no electricity or service. tear soaked nights of worship with comforting hands on my shoulder. realizations and revelations. wandering the hill with the wildflowers. a hand to help me up the saddle. horse rides through the woods. the snackshack. buses crammed to full capacity with overexcited teenagers. a cold pool, dancing, loudspeakers.
two semesters in canada – the steady snowfall overnight. the lectures with handwritten notes. walks to the grocery store and the overflow of grocery bags. treks up the hill with the nights around the bonfire. weekend brunches. long hours in the library cramming assignments. a jammed printer. a musical. hours on standby, struggling into costumes, getting pitch. canadian thanksgiving in toronto with the towering concrete of buildings. wrenching goodbyes with the first real group of friends.
daytrips to dc – subway rides through the dark. dirty escalators. the walks afoot. museums filled with art and history. the pitstop in chinatown at the same restaurant with the same order. the drive back home in the dark. eyes heavy with sleep.
the retreat in pennsylvania – mother-daughter trip. the youngest person there. every meal at a new table with new faces. wandering the blooming grounds heavy with springtime. the mass spoken in tongues. the service where I was slain in the spirit for the first time. the confused tears that followed. discovering the library. wandering the building old with age. my room filled with only a bed and desk.
ikea trips – an occasion always to be excited by. the childcare center. running through the room displays, play-pretend home owners. swedish meatballs. the obligatory refill of ligonberry juice. the nub of a pencil. numbers taken down on paper. wandering through the light displays. hanging onto the cart stacked with furniture to be assembled. getting frozen yogurt while my parents paid at the cash register. falling asleep on the car ride back.
nostaligia is a dirty little liar, but there is also comfort to be found in the memories. recently I found myself in the passenger seat of a car of someone I barely knew, reflecting together on another thanksgiving away from home. the thought registered, said outloud,
why did I take it all for granted?
so for now I am allowing myself to dwell on the memories. just for a little while, before they are gone and fuzzy with age and time. to keep my eyes ahead with the knowledge that there are more memories to be made. to appreciate the past for what it is – not to romantize it, but recgonize the joy those moments brought. to understand what really matters. nostalgia is a friend I think have made peace with, tucked away in a quiet corner, to make an appearance every now and then.