Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ghost in the graveyard

(this is a post from my old blog, but i thought i'd post it again. kevin and i drove by my old house yesterday, and i showed him the backyard. there are powerful memories there. i'm wondering where we'll raise our children...)

"richland lane was untrafficked, hushed, planted in great shade trees, and peopled by wonderfully collected children. they were sober, sane, quiet kids, whose older brothers and sisters were away at boarding school or college. every warm night we played organized games--games that were the sweetest part of those sweet years, that long suspended interval between terror and anger.

on the quiet dead-end side street, among the still brick houses under their old ash trees and oaks, we paced out the ritual evenings. i saw us as if from above, even then, even as i stood in place living out my childhood and knowing it, aware of myself as if from above and behind, skinny and exultant on the street. we are silent, waiting or running, spread out on the pale street like chessmen, stilled as priests, relaxed and knowing."

--annie dillard, an american childhood

night games. there was perhaps only one summer when there were enough of us who were the right age, living in the three houses. we lived on a dead-end and our elderly neighbors tolerated us, as we shrieked and counted and occasionally fought till the swooping bats came out for food. it was so good of the sun to stay above the horizon until almost nine o'clock.

these were moments of simple magic--curled up in hiding spots just on the edge of deep woods, caught, running for your life and shaking the moist dirt from your palms; hearing your dad call (reluctantly) that it was time to come in, coming in sweaty and filthy, rapturous; taking a cool shower to cool down, exhausted, falling asleep with cool, wet hair, comfortable and ready. tomorrow you'd ride your bike around your little world, either to stroh's for ice cream or to the tennis club to shake off your shoes and practice flips off the high dive.

"glory be, i thought, during all those weeks, hallelujah, and never told a soul."

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