Thursday, January 12, 2006

Back to the scene of the crime.


It's amazing the tricks one's memory can play. I am surprised how our brains record and store information, and which files we place that information into. I am baffeled that we can remember things one way, but after a time those things can prove to be quite different. Sometimes we need to go through our file cabinet and clean up, re-label and file those memories in a different place.
Case in point:
I grew up in Spokane Washington, I moved from that city when I was 15, never to return again. Why? The memories. Spokane was not always the most pleasant place for me. I grew to feel unsafe there, I never thought of it as "home". If you've been around a while or if you've poked around in "The Parts of the Stories" in my side bar, you will remember that my first 15 years were not so traditional as far as child raising goes. It wasn't horrible, I've met many a child who has suffered trauma they just never got past while living in foster homes. But growing up wasn't "Father Knows Best" either.
As an adult, in my memory, Spokane was filed away in the back of the drawer. There are lots of dust bunnies, it is dark and rather chilly most of the time...
A few years ago, I got a wild hair and decided that I really needed to return to Spokane as an adult, just to poke around a bit. I wanted to go on a pilgrimage of sorts.
A short time after verbalizing this, a concert was making it's rounds, one husband and I wanted to see. It was playing in Portland, the Gorge and Spokane. He purchased tickets for Spokane and made reservations for the weekend.
Of all of the beautiful and wonderfully exotic places husband has ever taken me, this plain place was our best trip by far.
We pulled into the city from the West and the hill crested, just below us was the city, nestled like a jewel in the desert. The smell of the pine trees in the dry air brought back childhood memories of playing in the woods (at a time when such things were safe), of secret forts built, of snow ball fights, of jumping rope on the playground after school. We decended into the city and to our right was the "Batman Church" which could be seen on the south hill from almost anywhere in the city. Exiting the freeway, the underpass was covered in the same graffiti that was there 30 years ago, the same people huddled under the pass, chatting in a small group, deciding who would work which corner. Before going to the hotel, we drove around a bit, I found a few of the houses we lived in (we moved ALOT) and couple of the schools (lots of those too), we found my step-mothers house, my uncles house and the ice cream drive thru that had the hugest two flavor cones ever.
After checking into the hotel we walked down by the river and I remembered the time my cousin almost died in the river, tubing almost all the way down to the falls, he thought it was funnier than hell when they pulled him out. We wandered around the amazing park that was built on the old Expo '74 site as I recounted the placement and the wonder of many of the pavillians. We perused the shops downtown and found everyone to be wonderful, friendly and they all had an exceptional pride about their city.
The entire city was alive.
That was the very last thing I was expecting to find.
I expected to find the city staggared by the burden I had placed upon it.
The music at the concert was particularly sweet, the bed at the hotel was extra cozy, the air made my lungs feel as if they had never breathed air before.
I was healing.
I was home.
I learned that it is OK to challenge your own memories from time to time, no matter how real they feel, prospectives can change.
And that facing your fears after the danger has passed is one of the very best gifts a person can give themselves.

posted by addict @ 9:20 PM |

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