Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ready to Remember

It was a degree in historical performance that my niece received this weekend. Her doctoral robes fit comfortably, as comfortably as her two-year-old son in her arms at the close of the ceremony. Her parents and her aunts and uncles had grown acquainted in recent years with the care required around the harpsichord that she had had built for her practice at home. Those of us who sat with her husband through the two-hour convocation on Saturday searched for her on the screen above the dais and aimed our cameras with pride when the graduates processed in and when they processed out.

We were ready to remember for the long term.

I had spent three evenings this past week getting my apartment clean for the weekend. One of the guests at the convocation would be staying with me. I had the satisfaction of watching the apartment grow quieter and quieter as each room was cleared of clutter, each sink scoured clean, each table-top polished. I carried up from the basement freshly laundered towels and washcloths and bathroom rugs. I pulled the bed sheets tight and plumped the pillows and stood them in their clean cases. The vacuum cleaner had frightened the cat from room to room until she settled under the bed in my room, reluctant to be coaxed out.

And now we are all remembering, each in our own way.

I get to remember in an apartment that is still clean. More towels than usual have hung drying in the bathroom all day. The dishwasher is purring this Sunday evening with double the usual load of cups and mugs and juice glasses.

There were emails through the day. One long-distance call with my brother from New Orleans. New photographs on my niece’s Facebook page.

Late this afternoon I returned to the semblance of a normal weekend and visited a nearby arts center. A former church had been transformed into one of the venues for this open studios weekend. Local artists were showing what their years of training had enabled them to express. I loved one of the old church windows above the displays. The sunlight through the glass reminded me of all the weekends that individuals had sat there ready to respond to well-crafted words and choice music.

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