I've got the sads now. I am the least Zen person in this world. I can't possibly enjoy the last evening somewhere because my mind, my heart, are too much taken up with the knowledge of it being the last.
Really. We are leaving tomorrow and I don't feel as if I am nearly done here. Not done sitting in this secret garden where right now I am listening to the great bamboo creak in the wind, it's leaves rustling like the stiff petticoats of dancers. Not done with the pool and the way I feel in it, suspended in water and in time. Not done sitting on the dock never done sitting on the dock watching clouds and water, observing the constancy of their changing even as they stay so belovedly the same, the water lapping the pilings with great gulps of sound. Not done remembering here, yes here, around every corner, even as to specific trees and houses and the place in the road where we knelt on the white sand hunched over marbles or the place in front of my best friend's house on the one paved road where we drew a hopscotch with a chalky rock and could play all day with no cars disturbing us.
Joy and Ralph's store, shut and boarded- are the coolers still in there where the yellow cheese, the great sausage of red-coated bologna she would cut a quarter of a pound from, the cokes in their little glass bottles were kept? What I would give for that knife she used to cut everything, including a Popsicle when Lucille and I came up with six cents and chose one- banana, grape, cherry- to split. The knife would go from meat to cheese to Popsicle with one cleansing swipe on a piece of paper. Where is that knife? And that sturdy wooden counter where she would figure out your total on a piece of brown paper with a pencil nib? Joy is gone with her long white hair twisted up on her head and so is Ralph, his face always white-bristled and a little scary. Gone for so long.
And maybe what I'm looking for of course is me but the child-me who without a doubt is still here.
We drove to Vero Beach today and had lunch at the Ocean Grill. We came in from the bright heat and iodine-smelling air (it's right on the beach, hell, over the beach and the seaweed was in today and the visceral memory I have of THAT, swimming through that almost-prickly stuff) into the coolness and funk of the Grill and the bar was a sort of heaven. We used to go there only on the most special of special occasions and there was one more mystery- The Ocean Grill.
I'm on the dock now and my husband is fishing.
I think that is it. There were so many mysteries and I was let loose to explore them and they fed my soul and my brain and my imagination in ways that nothing else could have done. From the clouds above me and the rough bark below me of the trees I climbed to the island that Mr. Mockeridge took us to in his boat where the ground was literally littered with the bones and teeth of mastodons, some of which we brought home. Didn't every child have the vertebra and teeth of ancient beasts in their laundry rooms? Mr. Mockridge's wife was the voluntary librarian at the tiny library where I checked my first books out. "Mary Poppins" and "Marooned On Mars." I read every book in that place she'd let me check out and she knew somehow that I needed words and more words.
This was Roseland and also old Aunt Katie (related to none of us) who told us stories of when her daddy named the place and how the Indians would slip down the river in their canoes and how the panthers would stare into their windows at night, raised up on their haunches. That and mango trees and Chester, the wild man with hair like Jesus who had run away as a child to live in Roseland and who grew turnips and sold them door-to-door. And the fishermen who slept all day and fished all night, who squatted on their heels to talk and who built boats in their yards and mended their nets and stretched them to dry over clothes lines.
And also Frank Baisden, the artist, whose wife Kay wore long skirts and silver jewelry and who would sometimes serve us tea and then read our tea leaves.
That. All of that. And it is still here. All of it. And I am so loathe to leave it and its mysteries and the very heart of the mysteries- the lion-cornered pool where by god I will swim again tonight with my husband.
And the greatest mystery of it all to me is that all of IS still here and all of it is still a mystery to me which still feeds me- heart, soul, imagination. All of it. And even when I am gone, the mysteries, like the river, will remain.
No. I am not done with it or any of it and never, as long as I'm alive will be because those mysteries are in me as surely as my blood and bones and believe me- there is so much more.
August 24, 2013