They say there is no going back, not in time or otherwise, yet we all feel that pull to see it as we once did, whatever that it might be. Perhaps the core of this is best expressed in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, in Act III, during that iconic graveyard scene when the dead speak.
EMILY: But, Mother Gibbs, one can go back; one can go back there again . . . into living. I feel it. I know it. Why just then for a moment I was thinking about . . . about the farm . . . and for a minute I was there, and my baby was on my lap as plain as day.
MRS. GIBBS: Yes, of course you can.
EMILY: I can go back there and live all those days over again . . . why not?
MRS. GIBBS: All I can say is, Emily, don’t.
Warnings aside, we did just venture back to an ancestral place, one that will always have a place in my heart, and although I did discover how powerful the draw to return to one’s past can be, the present is always available, and exactly that, a gift.
The day after my mother passed I found myself searching for her. Perhaps this is normal. Perhaps even the first stage of grief. All I know is I could not get enough of her. Every dusty photo became a treasure I was seeing for the first time. Even braving the traffic from New Jersey through Manhattan, over the Brooklyn Bridge and past Prospect Park, to stand on these steps, the very ones my mother skipped up and down, the steps her many beaus walked, and finally through this doorway went my father. This home, 1510 on Albemarle Road, that housed my great-grand parents and their ten, then my grandparents and their eight, a house where I brought two of my own for visits. A place to celebrate Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Where my grandfather’s casket was brought and the house filled with condolences. The house my grandmother packed up and said goodbye to, and yet I found myself here, sensing the shadow of generations, of a mother who I miss.
Sometimes you just need to get away, float into the mist, and let yourself rediscover exactly why you are here, today, on this swirling planet. #Blessed. #Grateful. I had time enough to rest, restore, and rejuvenate in this magical place.