a smell, sight, touch, or sound can take me down memory lane in a heart beat. or hearing a phrase that makes me think of things from the past can take me back. sometimes it is a time of year that sends me tumbling off the trail with former memories. these certain things put me on a path of wild and random (sometimes incoherent) thinking and i play the what was and what is and what if and what’s to come game. sometimes my brain feels like a little hamster running on the wheel you think and think but really it gets you no where except stuck in a loop scared to get off and wondering how long have i been at this….
this time of year i think a lot about leslie (i think about her all the time as it is but as we get closer to the heart of summer i find my self thinking more and more about her). i remember the trips we took and the things we bought. i remember the last encounters that we had and the conversations that we had and the profound effect that she had on my life and how much impact her family has made still in my life. something about this time of year makes me miss her more.
i think more and more about old friends and about relationships i have had and the adventures that we have been on. some thoughts and memories make me incredibly sad and others made me laugh out loud. i think about all the summers spent playing with will and vicky outside until after dark and our “bat club.” i think about all the summer camps that i spent with katie and the youth group and making sure that katie and i shared a room and coordinated our outfits and packing list and that when we weren’t at camp we still had to be together. i think about summer crushes (one that turned into love and marriage). i think about all of the things i thought i would have done and wished i did and actually did. i think of the person that i hoped to be and the one that i actually am. i think….
the other day andy was at a meeting so i decided i would go feed pancake alone since it would be too late when andy got home. it had been raining (i think we got 3 inches in about an hour – water was rising and roads were flooded). i loaded the dog up and off we went to feed pancake. for once i wasn’t punching a clock. so i drove. i only know 3 or so ways to get to the farm and as i was driving i kept getting derailed. i would go as far as i could and have to turn around because of flooding in the roads. i went all the ways i could to get to pancake but i couldn’t get to him – so i just drove. it made me think of a time (when i could fill my tank up with gas, take seven dollars into the gas station and walk away with change) when i would just drive around to clear my head. i used to drive to process thoughts and clear my head a lot. i blame my dad for that. (sorry dad). driving to the farm already made me think of dad and driving around made me think of the times that he would come ask if i wanted to go to dairy queen for a blizzard. i would think: ice cream? sure! we would go and instead of going the direct route we would drive down towards albemarle – typically turning around at the same gas station. some times we would go just to go…i don’t know the real reason we were driving just that ice cream was involved. other times we would go because i did something wrong (that was never stated but i knew) – we would get past the point where i could jump out of the car and walk home and dad would talk. or if he wanted to have my attention to mull something over he would say what he wanted to say and we would ride in quiet processing everything. once we got to the gas station we would turn around and go get blizzards and everything was forgiven and forgotten and processed. i thought ice cream healed all…but the older i get the more i think that it was the drive that healed.
when i realized i couldn’t get to pancake because all my options were gone i headed home. as i was driving home i saw lightning and black skies and i was headed right for it. i was driving into the storm. i couldn’t help but think that life was completely like that having to “drive into the storm to go home”. i couldn’t help but think of the times that i have known about a storm and could see it from the distance and driven straight into it. confrontations with friends that i knew had the potential to turn out horribly but they had to happen. conflict with different people at different jobs. fights with andy or my parents or brother. situations that the skies were so black and hopeless but i had no choice because i had to get through them to get home and to a resolution. when we have no choice and we see the lightning and hear the thunder and know that things are going to get messy we have to drive on and we do…we go through the storms and end up at home – sometimes a little battered and bruised and sometimes our homes aren’t as stable or sturdy as they were…but our foundation is strong and we make it.
when i got home. i had battled rising waters and thunder and a spectacular display of lightning and a spastic dog. i dealt with my failure that pancake wasn’t getting treats from me before bed. i struggled with wrapping up my disjointed racing thoughts about driving and storms, hopes and dreams and failures, memories and life in general. physically i was exhausted from a long day and mentally from processing so many thoughts and memories in such a short time. i pulled the shivering dog out of the car and unlocked the door. before i stepped over the threshold i looked at the sky. the blackness was breaking up and the clouds were moving on except for one…
i laughed and thought how fitting that i drove straight into dark weather and made it home through the storm and waiting for me was a cloud with a silver lining…
(some of us are just going through figurative storms but remember those who are dealing with literal storms in moore, ok)