Thursday, November 29, 2007
Last night while driving to my writing group a light snow fell. The flakes melted upon hitting the windshield, but I enjoyed them for the fleeting seconds they appeared. This California guy still regresses when snow falls. I guess I can count the times I've experienced fresh snow on two hands. That's one reason I take the time to marvel at how beautiful a snow flake can be. It's my favorite geometry.
When I got to the group meeting place, I had to sit in the car and just watch the flakes melt for another few minutes. I was reminded of a transitional time in my life when I stood on the El platform in Chicago, December, 1969. A friend snapped a photo of me holding a harmonica as light snow fell. Bending a few notes is a good way to keep warm in 14 degree weather, and it makes the time between trains pass faster. Been thinking about that winter as I negotiate the current one in Portland. Oddly enough, I think I come alive in very cold weather. Once inside, after time spent in a harsh environment, new warmth provides opportunities to appreciate small things.
In writing my memoir of 1969, I'm confronted with the portrayal of people that entered and exited my life all too quickly. At the group last night we had a productive conversation about how memoirs can trigger very different perceptions of people and events. We agreed that we can only tell our version of the truth; our perception of how things went down. If anybody who reads my work ever reads this I hope you'll realize this and know my intent is only to share my perceptions. Fallout happens.
It's like something that has happened to me a couple of times lately. Ever briefly driven down a one way street the wrong way? You swore it was a two-way. Being unfamiliar with many of the freeway off-ramps and the unpredictable occurrence of one-way streets in Portland, I have found myself on shaky ground a few times, if only for a few seconds. It's like those friendships and relationships we sometimes recall. You're certain they are two-way, but alas, were only one-way. Don't turn down those roads.