Sunday, April 04, 2004

Pink Roses

Thank you David, for taking the time to write to me.
Were you birthed in the house you returned to, that was gone - or
was it the first home of your life?
Just wondering.
I had a similar experience.

Late in May 2003 I returned to a small town in South Carolina, called Glendale, with my husband, my daughter and grandson Noah. It had been 25 years since we left there with our baby girl and two goldens to move way out west.

We drove down Emma Cudd Road, over a raging river - heavy rains resulted
in flooding above--down into the valley, where the rickety old wooden
house we had rented as poor chiropractic students once stood in a clearing,
overlooking a pond ringed by thousands of pink roses on a wild abandoned hedge...

Friends had even thrown a wedding there once - in a tent in the grove,with music, crystal and champagne - because of that riot of roses and the perfume that filled the night.

A lifetime later - 25 years !- we were in town for a reunion - and we wanted to see if the house was still there where Ariana had been born, in 1977.(It was an illegal homebirth and cost $15 for the midwive's kit to be replaced! )

Of course it was gone, and that wasn't such a surprise ... surveyors for
a natural gas pipeline had come through before we moved out and the
understanding was that this old house was in the way.

(I had dreamed once while sleeping there, nestling my infant daughter, that the winds had risen and the whole thing collapsed in a heap of sticks. It was
just hanging there inexplicably, suspended on the chimney.)

We drove up and down the road, measuring the curves, when I saw
a small rose hedge on the edge of a sodden wood. The little pink
wild roses were twining up a telephone pole.

Robert could see it - the turn of the road he remembered. But there was no pond, curiously: it had been filled in years ago, and the big trees were long gone.

Not a trace of that tumble-down memory remained.Now there was a little subdivision of solid brick houses, along a familiar drive. Behind one house was the old barn, still standing.

I didn't feel certain I was even in the same place until we drove in
a little ways--looked out across the slope of the hayfield. Then it was the lay of the land, the old brambles and elderberries, the color of the grass and
angle of light where I used to run - I knew I was back *home*.

A golden retriever came barking at a run over to us, and she looked for all the world like our dog Nell who had given birth to ten puppies back then, in those fertile days.

Noah was asleep in the car, so we turned around and drove out, over the
foaming, red-clay river. I thought about that image and it said to me: water under the bridge.....

I picked a little sprig of pink roses, and they filled the car with a pink aroma --something like Evening in Glendale, Southern-style. Revival, anyone?

Related posts - June 1 2003

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