Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blatant Nostalgia Trip

I'm listening to Bonnie Raitt and lapsing into nostalgia this afternoon. I remember clearly the first time I heard one of her songs. It was early evening on August 12, 1992. Chris and I were driving up to Bear Lake for a raspberry milkshake, talking a little but mostly breathing and listening. I began to relax for the first time in weeks, maybe months. Still, I felt like an awkward teenager after a makeover, not sure quite what to make of the new self emerging, aware that others reacted differently to me now and unsure how to react to myself.

My parents and I argued on my return, Dad worrying about me joyriding with a married guy friend just hours after my husband's funeral. I don't imagine they realize, even now, how essential that evening was for me (and how innocent). Chris and I had always connected deeply and uniquely. I needed that instinctive connection just then--no explanations or discussion, just the permission to simply exist. I suppose I probably even needed the hint of rebellion and the release that came with the argument at home.

A few weeks later I packed my pickup truck and moved cross country to Vermont. As a parting gift, Sue gave me Bonnie's "Nick of Time" album for the drive. That album became a link to my past and the anthem of my rebirth. Even now, it transports me back to Saturday afternoons on Burlington's Church Street, my toddler son turning heads with his blond curls and hip sunglasses. Inspired by his delight, perhaps, I felt myself growing younger with the passing seasons. Months of caring for a terminally ill husband had aged me by decades.  Now I felt the years falling away. I explored my new territory, fascinated both with the charm of Vermont and with the adjustments in my emotional landscape.

I loved those early years in Vermont--the fog over Lake Champlain on my way to work, the silliness of somersaulting into snowdrifts, my son singing behind me on the bike, the thrill of falling in love quite unexpectedly. Bonnie Raitt and rich New England air worked their magic on me, healing and rejuvenating, filling me to the brim with life. Even now, listening and remembering, I breathe a little more deeply and feel new.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I am in tears ... At your struggle and pain yet insight, peace and joy all in the same experience. You are powerful. Thank you for this piece. - Jen