Thursday, April 11, 2024

Get the Tissues


Bear with me. I’m going through a time when almost everything makes me teary. If I made a list of the things that brought this on over the last week, it might almost be funny. Maybe.

Today it started with this sentence, or rather a phrase.

Once home to a vibrant local print newspaper, the Columbia Flier Building closed its doors in 2011. 

a vibrant local print newspaper

Just those words alone should make all of us cry, actually. It’s like unearthing a fragment in an archeological dig that instantly drives home a realization of great cultural loss.

Ahem. (Wipes eyes.)

County Executive Calvin Ball’s announcement of future plans for the Columbia Flier building deserves an entire blog post unto itself. I’m still working on it. I have a few questions to ask and information to gather. 

Example Number Two today of my current teary-eyed phenomenon came with this piece by Baltimore Banner’s Leslie Gray Streeter as she writes about experiencing this week’s eclipse with her son.

How the total eclipse of the sun became a ‘total eclipse of the heart’ for my family, Leslie Gray Streeter, Baltimore Banner

The older Brooks gets, the more life stages I have to marvel at, with the profound understanding that they are impermanent and fleeting. And they will never come back. At the beginning of this school year, I mused over the realization that with each grade, each level in soccer and each shoe size, my little one is no longer little. And at each of those stages, he’s in some ways a different person. I love every one of them, but it’s heartbreaking knowing that each metamorphosis will shed some part of that person I love.

Things that are precious. Things that are fleeting. Things that will never come back.

When I was in high school I performed this monologue (from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town) at a parent night. I was honestly surprised when my mother said it made her cry. I didn’t know why.

Emily: I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything. – I can’t look at everything hard enough. Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.

Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama. I married George Gibbs, Mama. Wally’s dead, too. Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember?

But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s look at one another.

I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life, and we never noticed. Take me back – up the hill – to my grave.

But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners. Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking. And Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths. And sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute?

Now I know why.


Note: If you’d like to write a guest post tomorrow for Free Form Friday, let me know. I have fasting bloodwork scheduled and the lack of caffeine wreaks havoc upon my writing brain. - - jam

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