Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cicadas and Open Windows: Childhood, Home

I know I am supposed to be writing about some part of my book process, but tonight I want to write about home, a concept I am thinking about as I listen to the cicadas outside my living room windows on this humid summer night. My husband, my daughter, and I recently moved back to the Midwest from Massachusetts so that my husband could go to graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. H. grew up in Colorado and is necessarily a little bit put out by the flatness of the landscape and the heartiness of the cuisine. I grew up in Wisconsin and Illinois, so I get it. Biscuits. Fried chicken. Cornfields. Or at least the advertising of these things.

I know there must have been cicadas in Massachusetts, but I don't remember ever hearing them. Here in St. Louis, they are deafening at night ( and no, they don't connote the romance one might think). And yet, they remind me of home, of being a child. This is good and bad, of course, because it means that I am brought back to a time when I was afraid of almost everything and had panic attacks galore...

But it also means that I am brought back to the brink of experiencing unsurpassable things like first love (and first dumpage) and slumber parties. It means I am in the middle of having hurt feelings and hurting other people's feelings. It means I am trying to hunch my shoulders, so my mom doesn't take me to the bra ladies at the mall. It means I am listening to Guns N' Roses and trying to get my brother to pay attention to me, or at least punch me. It means I am convinced an old man sits at my desk at night and wants to slap me for no reason that I can understand. It means my goldfish Frisky is about to die because I dumped a freebie fair fish in with him. It means my grandmother is still alive and I still have feet that are too big for my body. It means I am discovering that I can run fast around tracks and through woods.

Mostly, I am relieved that I don't have to be a kid anymore. But sometimes, just sometimes, I hear things like cicadas or I see a high school track and I remember what it feels like to have somebody make a home for you and tuck you into it and sing you softly to sleep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wash u in st louis? my bro went there for undergrad!

"These are the days when Birds come back/a very few/a Bird or two/to take a backward look."

"These are the days when Birds come back/a very few/a Bird or two/to take a backward look."