Monday, November 30, 2009

The Sentimentality of Here, There

I am often accused of not being sentimental, or more to the point, once I am "done" with a thing (object,person, circumstance) I am done with it completely. I do have the ability to walk away, sometimes far forevers away, from a thing I no longer need or find fulfilling. Whenever I am so accused I want to argue this simply isn't true but I can't. It is true. My nostalgia is carried within me, not in a photo or a trinket or a box of receipts. When I am struck by a wave of sentimentality, the pining comes from deep inside and it may not always produce tears, but it shifts me, moves me, affects my whole being. One such place that I will forever carry with me is the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I visited the grounds again during Thanksgiving holiday and before I even stepped out into the first courtyard, I felt a lightening, as if a corset of tension had been unlaced; I could breathe again.

This place has seen me single, engaged, married, a wife, twice pregnant, a mother, one day old, maybe ill, always dying. I have brought friends and loved ones to experience her seasons. I have mourned the loss of several of those dearest here at the lake's edge. There is no blame here, there is light. There is no vacuous chatter here, there is wind in trees. There is no anger here, there is beauty. There is no entrenchment here, there is constant change. There is no denial here, there is acceptance. These gardens look different every time I visit, but her loving embrace and tender kisses on the eyelids of my soul, bring me a peace and a sense of connectedness I rarely find elsewhere.
The Garden and her long light reminds me to live, to embrace change, because everything must change, no static thing will survive the hard frosts, the droughts, the floods, or the harvests. People forget, they want to cling sentimentally to what they once had or dreamed of having, and completely forget they are not dead; they can keep living, nurture their dormant roots and bloom once more. It is an effort filled choice each has to make for themselves, no other can give you what you need to be whole. And so, I cannot deny I am not one for mawkishness and tradition for the sake of it, but instead of unsuccessfully contriving a sense of nostalgia, I attempt to live so I find new threads of it everywhere I go. Threads that make the seams of myself hold fast, no matter what season I may face next.

5 comments:

LinDragon said...

What a thoughtful, sensible post. I applaud your words. They have given me pause for thought.I, too, am capable of walking away, cutting off that which is finished.But I had never articulated it so clearly. Thank you.

Sara said...

I am often accused of the same. Lovely post and pictures.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Beautiful post, Heather. We live in sentimental times, which is why everyone walks around taking pictures with their cell phones--we must capture our memories! But it's an odd way to live, as it makes every moment of the past equally important and equally worthy of remembering. I think the problem is, we don't know what's important, don't know how to weigh import, and so are left with cell phone and scrapbooks filled with memories that don't carry much weight, that reflect only our desire to preserve them.

I'm not sentimental either. And I don't think your feelings about the Gardens are sentimental.

frances

Heather said...

Your pictures made me feel all goldeny. I love it. Well written, as always!!

Mom said...

I've said this many times before, but this really is your most beautiful post to date. And I, being your Mother, can see far into the words, to the soul of their meaning, to the heart of what is and isn't important in life, to the elements that are at everyone's fingertips to make themselves happy, because no one can do it for them. No truer words have ever been spoken. You, my dear, are wise beyond your years...and the world needs to listen.