Yesterday the weather was a bit dreary. Ordinarily it is the kind of gray day that I savor. Low, thick clouds, a hint of rain, and cool winds. This day just emphasized the fact to me that summer is quickly slipping away. Already the nights aren't quite as long, the chirp of the crickets has slowed to a less earnest tweet, and the evening breeze brings more chill than refreshment.
Tied in with these thoughts are memories of many summer evenings spent either in my grandma's backyard or in her den/dining room. This room was on the west side of the house. The lighting at night often gorgeous shades of pink, red, and orange from the setting sun. There was always a fresh breeze that would weave through the trees and shrubs. My grandparents' home was often blessed by a gentle west wind. There was never much of a need for air conditioning in their home. I can still hear the yearning tone of the call of mourning doves as the days gently wound down, the gray, blues, and purples of twilight swallowing up the last heat of the fading summer days as I gently rocked on the porch swing. These remembrances evoke such secure and happy memories for me.
Today dawned cool and sunny. Gorgeous, puffy clouds gently floated across the sky as my father and I walked the farmer's market this morning. A gentle breeze caressed us as we strolled among the stalls filled with farm fresh vegetables, plump, juicy fruits, and tantalizing local baked goods. The smell of fresh blueberry doughnuts and peanut butter cookies reminded me of how my grandma loved to bake so she could keep her sweet tooth satisfied. Her cookie jar was always full when we were kids! This thought influenced my shopping choices.
My father and I took our bag of treats to the local park to watch the kayaks and boats skim across the rolling, gentle waves of Lake Macatawa. It was good to be able to re-enforce old memories while creating new ones. It is hard to believe that six months has gone by already since grandma passed away. The time has mostly flown by. Maybe that is why I making such an effort to cling to and enjoy the moments of each and every ordinary day now.
I know I am fortunate. I have a treasure chest full of memories that I can pull out at any moment and enjoy. Because I had my grandma for so long, I can still hear her voice as she often called me doll and how her voice would trail off as she said good-bye at the end of a phone conversation.
Many years ago my grandma's second son passed away. This was a sudden, shocking loss for our family when my uncle died. I can still remember hearing about his three year old grandson's fresh grief several months later. When asked why he was crying, he said it was because he could no longer hear his paw paws voice in his head. I understood this right away. It was like his grandpa had died all over again, but in an even more permanent way.
I suppose this is why I sometimes like to reflect and conjure up as many images and sounds as I can that I associate with my grandma, to keep her memory, her voice, her self, alive in my heart.
Johnny Cash singing "I'll Fly Away."