Monday, November 10, 2008

A Perfectly Simple Memory

I am one of those persons some would call a contemplator.
Even in moments when I am completely present in what I am doing, or not doing, I am vaguely aware that there is another part of my brain that is mulling something over. Sometimes it has to do with what I am doing, sometimes not. Lately I have been mulling about childhood, and I am coming to the stunning conclusion that nearly every memory I have is a good one- or great one. I had an uncomplicated childhood, and in this, I believe I am very fortunate. There is one memory that keeps coming back to the forefront and I have no explanation as to why. Except that it is, in my mind, perhaps the most content moment of my childhood. It is snowing heavily and it is night time. It is near Christmas as the lights from the Christmas tree are nearly the only light in the room. It is the mid 70's and everything in the living room is aglow in gold tones. The carpet is a gold hue, the satin brocade sofa under the huge picture window is a deeper shade of gold, the walls are even a shade of gold. I am actually so small that I am lying on the sill of the picture window which is about a foot in depth and even with all the decorations in the window I am quite comfortable. A winter scene is set of which I cannot remember the exact details except that frosted bottle brush trees and angels hair are in plenty. There are many cylindrical candles with ornate holiday scenes painted on the inside of the glass and they smell of paraffin wax. Luckily, at this moment none of them are lit. Perry Como is crooning on a 33 in the huge wood encased stereo so typical of that period. Andy Williams was waiting on the little pin that would drop the next record when Perry sang his last song on the album. Frank Sinatra was probably next. I can still picture those album covers in exact detail. Lying in that picture window watching the snow fall down is just like lying outdoors underneath the winter sky, except that I am in flannel pajamas and there is a roaring fire in the living room fireplace. All traces of human existence lie in a deep blanket of snow. The cars in the driveway are already buried nearly up to their windows and I know for certain there will be no school tomorrow. I loved school, but I loved a snow day better. I have no idea where my parents are, but it is likely my dad was in the next room watching something on TV. No doubt my mom had something going on in the kitchen, or a cat fast asleep in her lap. I cannot remember these details because I am completely lost in the moment. There are three massive evergreens in our front yard right next to the street. If the plows make it out, the piled up snow may reach six feet or more at the evergreens. With no class tomorrow, I am already imagining the snow igloo that can be carved out of the drifts and the boughs of the tree. These snow forts we made in those trees were invisible to all who passed by. They were the ultimate hiding out spot, yet they were thirty or so feet away from a nice mug of hot chocolate. As I drifted off to sleep in the picture window, I was already holed up in my snow igloo in my mind, the smell of paraffin replaced by balsam. Tomorrow was going to be the perfect day. And it was.

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