My Turtle House
I sit outside to read in the hopes that I can gather up enough rays of sun to last through next week when the newspaper predicts the return of the rain from its sommerferie (apparently spent in Oslo).
I let my papers fall to my lap and close my eyes, though the sun still shines white through my eyelids. An out-of-sync tune is hammered out by birds overhead, a lawnmower purrs away down the street.
Without even a thought to take me there, I am suddenly lying on a beach towel on the wide green lawn at the house on Pheasant Run (where I did some of my growing up). The sound of our lawnmower approaches and then leaves again as my dad walks in neat diagonal stripes. I am lying so still that a squirrel dares to come within a foot of my blanket. I am the first to be frightened, and the sudden flick of my legs sends the squirrel sprinting.
It occurs to me that I haven’t stored my memories dutifully like the events in my diary, nor can I string them out into a straight line like the days on the calendar. They follow their own system of organization, determined not by when but by where. Where was I then? (And the answer unlocks a room so large I that I can live in it for a good long while.)
I have transported this network of memories with me through Costa Rica, Tunisia, Singapore, England, Canada . . . borne on my back like a turtle’s shell that I’ve dragged along with slow, thick legs. And with a turtle’s obstinacy, I remain oblivious to the fact that this “home” I’m always looking for isn’t where I’m headed, but just there, right behind me.