Thursday, August 11, 2011

The grass is even greener in the past

At least three times a day I have a flash of a life that I can place as mine, but have no recollection of the time or place.  A smell, a song, a breeze and I float away.  An overwhelming sense of peace floats over me and a smile finds its way to my face.  I have been trying to place these memories and can only pin it down to the time that Matt and I spent living in St. Pete's, the year we got married and had Cora and started our adult-ish life.  We lived there for only about 10 months at a time when the town was somewhere in between surviving and drowning.  It was the most beautiful place we have lived in all the many moves we have made.  We walked out the door and into nature.  No driving required.  The French Creek swept through the front yard and under a beautiful train trestle long ago abandoned by the quarry that offered even more amazing scenery.  Strangely that life felt anything but serene at the time.  Here we were, living in a remote historic village on the edge of beautiful forests and rock strewn creeks and we couldn't wait to leave.  Too remote, crazy neighbors, nothing to do, the list goes on.  In reality we were doing about as well as the town.  It looks great on the outside but walk through the door and you'll see the wear.  We wanted so badly to live that life but were at a point when everything we knew was being changed and what we needed to know was still not apparent.  Matt took a bad job, we got married, moved to a place that looked so much like what we wanted the photos of our life to show and had our baby.  The loneliness of that bad job and the long hours being home made the walls close in.  All that nature out the front door became my isolation and my distance from the world.  It all got harder than we could have imagined.  Who knew that having a baby, getting married and working endless hours could make life so unbearable?  The pictures of our life started looking like they may have a few less people in them if we continued on that dirt road so we left.  A less crappy job was offered in a more crappy town and we left in a breath.  For years we said that it was bad timing, another time in our life and we would have flourished there.  That still may be true, we will never know.  So why do I have those floating memories that make it seem so tranquil, something to be missed?  The isolation had it's benefits and the simple unattached life felt liberating.  There was no television, no cell phones, no internet and certainly more than enough time to do things that truly made life more fulfilling.  I became someone who could be alone in a room and be happy, a person that I had never met. I spent most of that 10 months rocking Cora to sleep in silence only interrupted by the sound of the creek.  I remember days when I never heard another voice until Matt returned home well into the night.  Somehow I had transformed myself into the person whose life looked good in pictures and in reality because we all know that snapshots are all smiles and life tends to be all but sometimes.  Looking back I have realized that we laid the groundwork for this life back in St. Pete's.  We chose what mattered and took it with us.  We want to be together as a family as many moments of the day as possible and we want as few distractions during that time as can be managed.  I have a feeling that those soothing memories are meant to bring that reality back.  Slow down and remember that even the tough times look great a few years later. 

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