Sunset at a wharf in Nova Scotia, Canada
For the past two weeks I was a tourist in the very county where I grew up. The homestead is being lived in by my nephew so I was a guest at my brother's house. The car I drove was a rental and the places I visited~ always there before~ I saw through the eyes of a visitor. It felt... odd.
But mixed in there were the ghosts~ those memories that followed me. As I strolled the beach I heard children laughing~ their voices carried gracefully over the lapping waves~ and there was the laughter that was mine as a child when summers were endless. I walked through the fields of my property~ much of it now overgrown~ and heard the horses snort as my grandfather ploughed the gardens. As I drove over the broken pavement of the road that led to the school I heard sleigh bells~ the method of transportation after the snowstorms in the 60's~ because getting to school was a priority. How things have changed!
And then my brother and I sorted old pictures~ my heart expanding to the wash of memories of those I loved, those who are gone except for the bright laughing faces staring back at me from the black and white photographs stored in old chocolate boxes. It was bitter-sweet.
All the way back to Alberta on the plane I couldn't help but wonder: Where does the time go? Just yesterday I was nineteen. I used a rotary phone which was on a party line, there was no such thing as sunblock, smoking was cool and seat belts were unheard of. A case of beer cost a tenth of what it is today, and I kissed my favorite boyfriends outside the dancing light of beach bonfires!
The girl in those pictures is gone as well. We all change. Places change. Circumstances change. And I can't help but grieve for what has passed. Still, the tides come in then recede again, and after the sunsets new days dawn~ a reassurance that some things never change~ and that perhaps these constants are the most precious because hope never fades.
Ellen Ashe~ www.ellenashe.net