Discover more from a note to a friend
the sunday read - 2
on seasons, and mysteries
hey, friend. hope you're well. and managing the change of seasons. yeah, fall is still one of my favourite times of year. of course so is spring. and summer is often glorious with its bright flowers and mad growth. even winter can be magical.
i think maybe the only season that doesn't make it onto my list of favourites is that time in late winter, after the last big snowfall but well before anything has started to think seriously about thawing. when everything is grey and washed-out beige. a season so miserable its very name was removed from our language and collective memory. so we could never again easily call it to mind. "remember that time when the grey slush was the same colour as the grey sky, which was the same colour as our grey skin because we hadn't seen the sun for weeks?"
"no. but gosh isn't spring pretty? and just listen to the birds!"
and so it remains. nameless. forgotten.
except when we get there again. and i think to myself, "oh yeah, i remember this. not my favourite." and then do a quick bit of reflexive math that reassures me this un-named greyness doesn't last long. even if a morning of slogging through it can feel like months. spring will be here soon, i tell myself.
and it almost always is.
but between now and then we'll have our first frost.
and eventually we'll be into full-on winter.
about now is when the stories begin.
we'll be sitting talking about nothing in particular, and suddenly out will come a random photograph.
"i was looking at this the other day."
and i'm handed a piece of paper with scalloped edges and a shiny front that fits easily into the palm of my hand. it's a black and white photograph. and suddenly i am looking at my mum at the age of about twenty, and my dad a wee bit older, and his mum and dad are in their forties, and his grandma is about my age, and my dad's sisters are all little kids, they're out at the caravan for a picnic, even though dad's dad is wearing a tie and his gramma is wearing a lovely summer dress and a fancy hat, and it's probably the only time they had a picture of the whole bunch together. and for the next few minutes we're talking about where that was, and what was happening around that time.
as the weather gets cooler i've noticed the stories start to come.
so yesterday, after the caravan picture came out, and we'd puzzled awhile about the pencil-scratchings on the back, i made a suggestion.
and just now i'm smiling. because apparently this winter we're going to have a look through the albums of old photos. and we'll see how much can be remembered. i've got a quiet kind of excitement on me, and i just wanted to share it with someone. guess that's you.
though often there's not much that can be known, more mysteries than stories.
did i ever show you this one?
that'd be me mam. who i had supper with last night. yeah, still running her own place. driving her own car. doing her own meals. and often keeping better track of the movie plot points than the rest of the room. though she probably wouldn't correct you if you got it wrong. life's too short. and she'd prefer you didn't patronize her. though if you do, she's kinda glad to know that's the kind of person you are. good to make things clear. yeah, in some ways she and i are not unalike.
in that picture she'd be about 18 months old.
also a picnic.
not far from where she grew up. maybe up the coast road. just as possibly rampside.
but how is there a photograph? who took it?
and how does it manage to look like something out of the 1890s?
mind you, that’s not the only family pic that vibes that way.
here's one at random.
yup, that'd be me.
canadia. maybe my first winter? the thinking is i'd be just a wee bit older than the kid in the first pic.
but there it is again.
the past. being a foreign country.
anyway, winter's coming on soon enough.
and this year there will be stories. which we'll record, just in case there's a family member in the future who might be interested. yeah, there's a happy thought.
ah, but i've been sat here overlong, friend. nice to spend a bit of time with you, though. thanks for that. hope your day has some good things in it. and yeah, maybe a mystery or two.
who knows, it might lead to a story.
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