Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keeping Time

There is a rhythm to life in Charleston that has soaked into my soul. It has to do with the way the marshes change from gold to green each year; how the angle of light changes as the seasons progress. The bright-hot colors of July are beginning to make an appearance, letting me know that soon, our mini monsoon time will become more pronounced -- afternoon thunderstorms chasing away the heat of summertime.  I watch the calendar for months with "R" in them, keeping track of oyster season by a rule that was in place here before refrigeration was common-place. Tides mean more than the rise and fall of water levels. Moon phases beat a pulse in the waters around our home. The migration of birds marks the spring and the fall. There's a time to plant, to collect the bounty of the sea, to gather the fruits of the earth.  Yesterday, we picked the first figs of the year, beating the birds to the luscious sweetness straight from the trees.
I had opportunity, recently, to reflect on time.  We flew to the west coast for an event that brought to a close something that has shaped our live with its rhythms and schedules for 21 years. As I listened to Cory Booker, the commencement speaker at Stanford University, I realized this marked the end (at least for now) of school days for our family.  I remember so clearly the start of pre-school and Montessori for our son; how our vacations and travels matched the calendar for the schools our son attended. How the events, ceremonies, celebrations, all shaped our lives. Last week, at Stanford, we attended the culmination of those years. While he may someday return for future studies, 21 years of continuous schooling were over, and a new phase of life was indeed commencing.

It was inevitable that my mother came to mind. She used to say that she had no intention of dying before she saw her eldest grandson graduate university. But obviously, the seasons of her life carried her a different path. I wondered if I would feel her presence on that day when her beloved grandson received his degrees, or if he would feel her or think of her. The answer to these musings is yes.  She was most definitively there, if not in spirit, then in memory. And she was smiling.  It's been a long time since she held her grandson in her lap, but her family held her in our hearts and carried her with us that day.

I've lived in cycles of 21 years with my mother -- the first 21 years of my life as I called her home mine; the last 21 years of hers as we once again shared a home after going separate ways for a bit.  Now, at the end of another cycle of 21, we've marked time as mother and daughter, mother and grandmother, in the seasons of our lives.  I miss you, Bumma.

No comments:

Post a Comment