Thursday, June 21, 2007

just a bit of light

The photo is one my eldest son snapped one day on a hike. My long hikes over the hills and through the forest lands are mostly memories, but he continues the tradition, without even having known that it was my comfort, my writing workshop, and the way I tested out the endurance of his father, who was 24 years my senior, but kept up with me very well in those old days.

These days, for me, are days of busyness shot through with the light of sudden memories. Gifts, and losses. Sometimes I'm not sure which is which.

Following news of my friend Berk's death--indeed, five minutes after I posted those paragraphs--I received news of the death of the father of my highschool sweetheart. We were together--10 years? 12? that poet-historian and I, and his father stalwartly disliked me every day of that time, because I was not Jewish. And because, he would add, I was sloppy and a dilettante and--oh, I don't know what else. They were probably always true things, though they cut to my heart.
I cried when I heard the news. He was in his late 80's, I had not seen him for--let me think--perhaps 35 years? I heard news, bit by bit.
And he is dead now, with his cleverness, his passion for Israel, his baritone voice. There's not a story I can tell now, not really.
And I don't really like being struck silent and bewildered.

My dearest friend from highschool stopped by a couple weeks ago with her mother, on a whirlwind tour of the coast, up to Canada. Over pancakes her mother told me stories and paused to say "I can see the young girl you were". I laughed and said I was glad, and that she is probably the only one now who can do that, look back through the decades to my 15 or 16 year old self and cherish that lost girl and all her dreams. It's a precious thing. Her daughter, my dear friend, mentioned the possible journeys of our retirement..or, well, her retirement. Retirement isn't in my dictionary of possibilities--but I could be tempted to weekends of irresponsiblity, in the name of the young crones everywhere ( & with fond nods to Lori and Marly). The mother--my own sole mother of the heart, in absence of those of blood--is 84 now, and vibrant as ever. I wistfully wished I really did share those enduring and clever genes; my friend says perhaps, by long acquaintance, they rub off.

It's a good thought. I'd love to be in my mid 80's racketing off somewhere. Or maybe hiking again, a little slowly, but with great stubborness. Climbing towards the light.

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Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Well, another tiny bit of blog synchronicity -- take a look at a poem I re-posted today about masters track and field (aka "T&F for people old enough to know better)...

Too bad I'm just swiping a second from otherwise working hard -- had I more time I'd raise a glass to Young Crones!

9:41 AM, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...

Crones Climbing Toward Light.

Good title, eh?

8:03 AM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous dr O2 said...

Sorry to hear abt the death :-S I myself am suffering from the aftermath of a relatives death :-S

It is a treasure to have someone who remembers our childhood! I enjoy all those tales abt the young me!

Sorry I haven' been around much. But without permission, I have copied some of your texts for my students to read in the class :-) Hope you won't mind :">

6:21 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

Lori, you know I liked your poem greatly..marly--interesting title; it makes me think of quite an Ingledovish sort of story, actually I want more of those stories from you--but you know that. Two books in that series feels incomplete. Wonderful, but imcomplete. But I am greedy.

dr o2-I am sorry about your relative's death. As to using my words for your students--well, of course you may, I give you full past, present, and future permission. (they will be learning some odd words from me though!)

10:59 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger womanwandering said...

Beautiful post ... I'm so glad you called by my blog and said hi.

11:52 PM, June 30, 2007  
Blogger David said...

I really like that picture Jarvenpa! My compliments to your son. Its been a while since I took a long hike. Maybe I should try it once again. :) When I was a kid, I loved hiking in the woods. I had a great sense of direction, so I never got lost. I would memorize all sorts of landmarks along the way. These days, though, I might need to think about getting a GPS locater. ;)

7:46 PM, July 02, 2007  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

thanks wandering woman, and thank you David.
back in the day I used to try to get lost, and never managed to (in cities and in the mountains as well). I don't remember now why, but I was so curious about the feeling of being so disoriented I could no longer find my way--it seemed to me it would be interesting. Led to many a long, long wandering.

8:56 PM, July 02, 2007  
Blogger blog queen said...

I am sorry to hear of all of your losses, both present and past.

I popped by, because I hadn't been here in a bit.

I lost a former student of mine a week ago in a car accident. Very tragic. Another of my former students, his girlfriend was driving. It is difficult when souls leave this earth.

How heartening though, hearing about the older lady. My mom is 84, and hanging in there. She is in assisted living however.

7:46 PM, July 05, 2007  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

hi blog queen, I stopped by your space to read your poems and memories (and it was a nice stop, I must say). I am so sorry about your student.

6:12 PM, July 06, 2007  

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