#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream
She came, but not in a dream. I imagined her presence, my ninety year old self, and she was suddenly there, walking beside me on rain stormed beach this morning. So, I discovered this about what I will be like at ninety: walking over slick stones in the sand by the sea. Later, after dropping guests at the Island airport, driving home, she was there again, this time in the passenger seat of the car. And I discovered this: she is a listener, and a very attentive and supportive one. Here is this ninety year old self I imagine, this wonderful elderly woman, who I want to become – who I am becoming. It was a lovely morning, to have this time with her to get some things off my chest. My heart cheered up so much. So, that I happily prepared for my writing workshop at Featherstone. As a warm-up, to read aloud at the start, I decided to use this favorite Ursula K. LeGuin poem, which every one appreciated:
The most wonderful surprise happened for me in the workshop! I shared the picture of my Aunt Marion that I always share, and the poem, "Monadnock," that I wrote from it so many years ago. As always, I talked about the archetypal nature of the photo, my love for Marion, and how holding her in my arms at the moment of her last breath in her fifties influenced my life. And finding this beloved photo so many years after, in my mother's old photos, and never knowing where it was taken. One possibility was the sailing camp on Martha's Vineyard where my mother said she was a counselor. But also, obviously, the possibility of New Hampshire, as the pine tree and cabin reminded me so much of the grove where my mother's family, and ours, spent summers on Laurel Lake in Fitzwilliam. . . At the end of the workshop, one of the lovely participants said, "I know exactly where the photo was taken." What? My heart danced with thrill. Where? I asked. "Fleur de Lis," she said, the summer camp for girls on Laurel Lake. Yes! Yes! Of course! I knew instantly she was 100 percent right. As it turns out, she's a board member of the camp and is going there this Sunday for a meeting. I've asked her to note the exact spot for me, and I will visit Laurel Lake in late August when I leave the Island and go to Fleur de Lis and find the spot and see what I will see, all these years later, and feel what I will feel, and know what I will know. Stranger still, after I left the workshop and drove to Vineyard Haven to pick up visitors from the ferry, I ran into my older brother Dusty who was just getting off the ferry as well. He saw me pull up in my husband's 1966 Mustang convertible, and the very first thing he said to me before even hello was, "Aunt Marion!" Because she drove a 1967 blue Mustang convertible, and that's what he was remembering. So, it was quite an amazing afternoon with my Aunt Marion's spirit after the lovely time I had with my 90 year old self. And my workshop participants, who wrote such lovely raw material from their photos. I'm going to love these Thursday afternoons with them at Featherstone.
For this remarkable day, and all the beauty and truth and surprise it generated, I am grateful.
All photos and text ©Kelly DuMar 2018