Perennial Thoughts

I started this post in late September of 2007, about a month before I was due to marry Poor Kyle. My sister was six months pregnant with a nephew I had never met—I had no idea how much I’d love him. I didn’t finish the post just then, no doubt because I got distracted with photo shoots and hair trials and dress fittings and Target™ registries…but I always intended to get back to it.

Only I never did. It sat in my drafts for three years, bugging me mildly, but never enough to motivate me into action. Finally, today, I revisited it.

In so doing, I learned a valuable lesson: moments of inspiration do not keep—not for jobs, not for salon appointments, not even for weddings. If you are blessed enough to receive them, don’t tuck them aside to get to later. They do have expiry dates, and they aren’t like that nice milk from Costco™ that sort of lets you get away with an extra two weeks before turning curdly—if you put them off, they’ll put off you.

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My sister and I are taking nightly walks now…that alone should be a testament to the innate goodness that is September.

Last night, our enthusiastic conversation dwindled into mellow silence—the kind of silence that is comfortable only in the presence of the oldest and dearest of friends—and I had a breakthrough.

I realized that I experience a handful of moments—ten, maybe—that recur every year; and every year, these moments inspire me to think about life, to make new plans and remember old ones.

Last night’s, and the top of my list, is the moment in late September or early October when the first (most ambitious) neighbors plant their winter lawns and I get “the whiff.” That autumnal debut of processed manure is, for me, more soothing than any shoulder rub or ocean breeze. Green grass will soon sprout, this horrific heat is nearly through, it tells me, and I believe it.

The second annual moment is the day my mother brings home our family’s Halloween pumkins. The smell of burning wicks, melted wax and pumpkin seeds. Every time I light a match, the acidic sparks tell of this moment. But the real event comes just once a year.

Another of my favourites (and I am sure many share this sentiment) is plugging in the Christmas tree lights for the first time. Usually I’ve done a goofy job of arranging them on the branches, and there’s often some tweaking required, but oh! the delight of that great twinkly moment.

Moment number four is peeling into the first orange of the season. I dig my fingernail (dirty from picking oranges all afternoon) into the rough skin of the fruit. The juice stings where I pulled on a hangnail, and a spritz of the peel’s oil perfumes my face. I subsist almost entirely on oranges from November to February every year. Every orange is delicious, especially the ones off my Grandpa’s old trees, but nothing quite tickles my glands or tingles my tastebuds like the First Orange of the Season.

Number five…

…and this is where my post ended.

I tried to fill in the rest, but I find my mind in a void right now. I can’t remember which other moments I intended to write about. Maybe mowing the lawn for the first time of the season? Maybe the first cup of cocoa? Maybe the dust of Carson field after the first softball game of the season? Maybe after a long, dreary winter, the first day it’s nice enough to sleep with the windows open and wake to a morning breeze, no alarm clocks necessary?

I don’t know. I wish I could remember, but I can’t: my mind is in too different a place this September than it was three years ago. In September of 2007, I was not working. I was not going to school. I was not married. I was not Canadian.

So much has changed since then, and now it feels like my brain is on an island. It’s in the middle of this enormous ocean, with no lifeboat and no flares and only coconuts for food, not even fresh fish because it’s crap with a spear. It vaguely remembers when it was back on the mainland—when it wasn’t trapped in this dismal place using palm fronds for toilet paper—and it sort of recalls that life was good then, but it can’t figure out how to get back. There’s no lifeboat, and it’s not much of a swimmer.

I don’t remember how this post was supposed to’ve ended. I can’t put myself back in my old shoes, even though I remember that I used to like them quite a lot.

So instead, I’m leaving it to you to fill in the blanks for me. What are your perennial moments—the rare occasions that bring your life crushing to a halt out of sheer nostalgia? What moments do you live for, even if you forget that you live for them until they’ve already happened?

Tell me.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in change, I hate change, introspection, looking back. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Perennial Thoughts

  1. jami says:

    My mom used to hang garland from our planter shelf. It had lights and beads. At night it was the only light in our house. I LOVED waking up in the night to go pee or get a drink. I would walk out to the garland light. It was such a magical christmas spirit thing. She stopped putting them up after my sister died…I guess that’s my que to start something like that in my house. I do enjoy seeing the colored lights through our window from our house lights. I just LOVE the holidays!

  2. Chloe says:

    Summer vacations. I missed them.
    I wanted so bad to have a job… And now I have one, I miss my looong summer vacations as a student. And I know they’ll never come back.

  3. Rachel says:

    I love the events that mark fall for me. Driving through Sardine Canyon and seeing the first leaves changing, the first football games, fresh tomatoes from the garden with fresh peaches and corn on the cob (when you can make an entire meal from fresh produce!), the first time I have to scrape my car in the morning, seeing all the students descend on USU and wishing for a second I could go back to school . . . Thanks for getting me thinking about these things! These are the

  4. Anonymous says:

    For the life of me I cannot recall ever taking walks at night together. How unfortunate for me. What a loss of a memory. I would have cherished it if only I could remember it…

    I understand what you mean; it is difficult to put oneself back in one’s shoes once the shoes have moved on, regardless of how happy the times may have been. I echo most your perennial moments. It seems that many of your (at least former) perennial moments occurred in the fall. Isn’t the fall such a hopeful time in AZ? I’m still waiting for it to come around. It’s not here yet… And to think your heater has been on for weeks! It’s still 100 degrees (or higher) here. What a miserable time to be pregnant.

  5. Leah says:

    My favorite moment of the whole year, the moment that only happens once, is the very first time that I smell winter in the October wind. I wrote about it here: http://justpluckingdaisies.com/2009/09/30/october-wind/

  6. Alaina says:

    For me, it’s putting up the Advent calendar before Christmas. Or taking a walk in the fall and hearing the crunching of leaves.

  7. Granmama says:

    Please don’t ever call yourself a CANADIAN again. YOU are an Amereican girl who is living in C anada because you married a Canadian. You are, and always will be an American from the United States of.
    Try to understand this is p[art of God’s great plan and remember who you are.

  8. Heber A says:

    If I was going for a new deity it’d be a coin toss between the wind and the night who’d I worship.

    Hot wind blistering my lips or icy wind needling my cheeks, I love both. I appreciate the balmy breeze too. I run my fastest in yearning for the wind to whistle past my ears. Wind is change, the essence of never holding still. Watch a leaf tumble, a feather float in its embrace. Wind.

    The bustle of a city never stops. Yet in secluded corners of night and space silence emerges. As all else falls away, what matters most emerges. The single star challenges the glimmering of a thousand thousand bulbs twinkling from below. Thoughts reign supreme. The cool embraces and those few sentient left awake ponder.

    That’s what sparks me thinking.

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