Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The time of year for threes

 Yesterday I had to go in for lab work at 8 AM, and it seemed like the perfect time to head on up the road to Memphis while I was up and dressed.  I made the rounds of my three intended stores and back home by 4 p.m.  I splurged on some pecan-crusted pork chops about the size of a roast and put them on...about the same time that I remembered R was staying in town for the basketball game...and about the same time that J came out and announced he was going to get Chinese take-out.

Undaunted, I proceeded to sit in the living room with the dogs and music going full-blast, savoring my bit of time while the chops cooked, occasionally dancing to a tune.  My movements seemed to fascinate Abby--the baby of the three and she also danced around me in excitement.  Even though there are 3 dog beds in the living room, all 3 of them finally settled on one together.  It might be a metaphor for life.
Later, after my delicious dinner, followed by a mini pumpkin cupcake with buttercream and caramel frosting, I texted with my sister.  Sis and I have been discussing the new family information I found this past week, and some new resources.  Mother at 89 is pretty much the last of her family of origin, except for a few distant cousins.  While she grew up, as did we, with frequent contact with the extended family, she did not know much about those before her grandparents' generation other than their names.  That task has fallen to me, and has taken on a level of fascination as I have uncovered the journeys of the ancestors to the Colonies that would later become the United States of America.  Family history has always reported that we were descended from Scottish and English.  While that is true in the sense that some of the ancestors did live in England for a period of time, I have been able to discover Irish roots as well as Scottish.

I told my cousin the other day--as she and her sister have also been doing parallel research on her father's side of the family as well as her mother's who is the sister to my mother--that the more I find, the more I am seeing my "carefully constructed identity" take on new meanings and new clarity.

The ancestors tend to have that effect on me.  Since I take it as true that life is a construct, in that we "make it up" for how we understand everything, I find myself wondering what I might have constructed had I known some of this earlier.  The thing about assimilation of new information is that generally, if we can fit it into what we already know, we do not have to spend much time with it.  If not, and we find we have to develop new information and meanings in order to accommodate this new knowledge, it takes a little longer and might even be uncomfortable or difficult.

I find myself these days listening to women who are near my age or older, as they speak about their experiences of constructing lives and meaning in a time of "traveling uncharted terrain." Several years ago, I heard an interview done with Patti Scialfa, and last night, I ran across it again.  At the time, she was 54, and said she wanted to write songs that reflected her in this stage of her life.  I think for many of us who are reaching this point, and we are now all 10 years beyond the date of the interview, there is a certain nostalgia for some of the moments of our younger selves, while at the same time there is a sense of anticipation for what might lie ahead.

Can we be comfortable with that?  Can we be comfortable with being uncomfortable with the new identities that may be forged from these transitions?

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