November Morning

On this particular morning, for some unknown reason, my hand smelled, for a moment, of hemp or jute and cast me unawares into the past where floods of memories drove themselves into my consciousness.  I saw, again, the vapid, gray morning of a camp-out when I was in the Boy Scouts, some 33 or 34 years ago.  My own morning sky, presently, is equally a semblance of flat gray, bearing none of the corpulence that would portend of a pleasant, wintry, rain-blessed day.  My mind’s eye saw that pale morning light and heard the enlivened pinging of metal on metal as someone’s steel-headed mallet or sledge drove into the German earth, several military-surplus tent-pegs that would secure the tightly drawn ropes of our old, burlap tent.  Dozens of years, thousands of miles, and an altered landscape try to prevent the tide of memories from renewing their many selves in my mind.  Winter-bright bougainvillea leaves and palm fronds waving through my view, and several species of cacti adorning the neighbor’s yard taint my periphery, boldly declaring that the smoke-laced morning and single, crystal drop of snot hanging, yet again, from my chilled and reddened nose are nothing more than rekindled fragments of embedded thoughts from a time that should be cherished as a carefree childhood. 

 

I would go back there to find that lost someone who might answer the unknown questions I have of myself.  I’d like to talk to the little boy I was then and ask him to remember the thoughts that I can’t seem to locate now.  For, you see, I don’t remember thinking, really, not back then when I was 12 or 13 years-old.  I only have a few ragged recollections of thoughts that may have been mine back then.  For example, I can remember thinking that I would never make it to the age of 18 – I had this thought when I was about six.  Anyway, I would like to walk, hand in hand, along the dirt roadway with that little-boy-self of mine, on that particular morning, noticing the dull, pewter-shaded cords of weathered, pine logs that some woodsman and taken such care to sort and stack, and ask him, that little boy, to remember for me.  Yes, still capture to thought the lonely, wayward peal of a church-bell that found it’s way down the country lanes and over the varied hills into our desolate campground causing our little group of boys to pause a moment and look for it’s source; and, yes, still lay to mind the rich earthy smell of my dirtied, blue-jeaned knees as I rest my chin upon one of them as I re-tie my worn-out, black, Converse tennis-shoe while I think that I’ll have to run to catch-up with my friends who are so far ahead of me on the forest path in search of large, yet tow-able, pieces of fire-wood; yes, keep these recollections there, but give me some thoughts too.  Give me something to look back upon when I see, in my mind’s eye, my father, grumbling around the tent in the morning, complaining about the ground being so uneven and the miserable night he had sleeping out-of-doors in a tent – with the happy sounds of young boys joking, laughing, and whispering in the cold air as the dying fire crackled against the night – tell me what you were thinking that morning as you listened to him, as you saw his lumbering bulk move about the campground, as you noticed the adult-coffee smell in the chill, waking light – what thoughts did you possess – what thoughts possessed you?  Did you even think?  Was your survivor’s mind even able to go to those realms?

 

Anyway, that’s what I would like to do . . .

 

 

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8 responses

  1. Nathan

    The other day on the way to Tucson, Krista and I were discussing the difference in your writing to those of other authors that we’ve read. We find that what you write could be described as ‘thick’ and ‘rich’ with texture, layered with a beautiful combination of eloquent words that sound in a way, almost poetic. You truly do take your reader to the exact place and time of your memories, full of all the succulent details that you can hear and feel, the aromas that you can almost taste, and a vivid and visual sense of your surroundings…on and on and on. I am transported from the hot and busy afternoon of the Phoenix summer, to a quiet and serene German forest observing my young Father as he contemplates his life. Absolutely incredible……. 🙂

    September 22, 2009 at 9:33 am

    • seekraz

      Well thanks, Man! I like that, “thick and rich with texture.” I do try to get the details into the writing that cause one to have the feeling of being there. The inspiration for this little story was my smelling something that reminded me of the ropes that we used on my childhood camping trips. It was weird how it all came flashing back…good memories inspite of the lumbering presence…crisp mornings with woodsmoke in the air…I love it.

      September 22, 2009 at 9:45 am

  2. Nathan

    Reading this made me excited for winter to come. It’s rather strange how just a smell can invoke such crystal clear memories isn’t it? 🙂

    September 22, 2009 at 10:08 am

    • seekraz

      I’m with you there, Nathan…so looking forward to the crisp mornings and evenings. And yes, it’s strange how just a smell can bring about such clear recollections. I read somewhere that memories are more closely associated with the sense of smell than any of the other senses…incredible. 🙂

      September 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm

  3. ByronHJ

    Your excellent descriptions transport me as well. As I sit here making the trip back to the camping and hunting trips of 35 and 40 years ago, I can smell and feel the blustery wind, snot turned to ice on my nose. I am leaning against the vanilla scented pine trees scanning the hillside for my prey. 40 years ago it was a rabbit, 30 to 35 years ago it became and elk or deer, either when sighted would make my heart pound. The cold was gone, and the wind was silent, right up to the crack of the rifle , the clock was stopped. It might end in smiles of joy and back slapping, it might be the one that got away. Sometimes all I got to eat was a sleepless night of ‘wish I would haves.’ Some nights I would get to be ‘the man’ at the campfire. In either situation, that moment of focus, the stopping of the clock, to this day leaves me remembering that among the sometimes drudgery of then school and chores, and now school, work and chores, I am still, from time to time, completely alive. Thanks for the trip!

    September 22, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    • seekraz

      You are most welcome for the trip, Byron, and thank you for the memories you shared, as well…sweet memories of carefree times!

      September 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

  4. A nostalgic voyage capable of bringing back a flood of memories of communing with nature along side my family as a young boy. Thank you for the flight, but next time you need to provide a gentle reminder to don my seat belt.

    September 23, 2009 at 10:13 am

    • seekraz

      I didn’t know it would send you on such a flight of remembrance, my friend, but I’m glad, nonetheless, that it took you there. You’re welcome for the flight! 🙂

      September 23, 2009 at 12:35 pm

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