Monday, March 28, 2016

What We Leave Behind

It's windy here again in paradise. Just a few minutes ago I Googled "Least windy place in Ventura County." The palm trees are blown out like windsocks, all their fronds pointed in one direction. It was impossible to walk on the beach this morning, and at least one day last week left me wondering if I'd scratched my corneas by trying. But there was a morning or two wherein I could inspect the wreckage wrought by wind and waves. It looked like this.

Gulls mining the wreckage

There's one of everything on the sand on a day like the one above. One sock. One glove. One shoe. A plastic shovel. A sand toy of some sort. An immense tree trunk. Bungee cord. Pair of glasses. Shorts. A t-shirt. A tire, a towel. And there were quite a few large crabs. Hence, the gulls.

The day I got my eyes full of sand there were petals. Rose petals. There was quite a trail of them, staggering on and on as if Ophelia had wandered there before throwing herself into the deep. I couldn't seem to get a good photo of the big picture of the entire winding road of yellow, pink, peach, white, and red. 

I always wonder about the flower petals I find on the sand. It's a thing. Quite regular, especially on Mondays. Maybe a wedding. Maybe the scattering of someone's ashes. The effect is definitely ceremonial.

I've been doing my own dig through the wreckage. But unlike many people my age, I'm not collapsing under the weight of a parent's probated house stuffed to the rafters with possessions that have lost their meaning. My mom moved around. She broke up housekeeping and then broke it up again and again. By the time she made it to my house in California and then left here for a nursing home in Iowa, all I was left with was a closet shelf of boxes.

It was solemn and joyful and mysterious and surprising to open those boxes. Oh, there were boring parts and maddening parts, but there were beautiful sweet notes in greeting cards, so clearly chosen carefully for her. There were coins saved for no apparent reason, and hundreds of pretty postage stamps torn from letters. Old photos, of course, our baptismal certificates, and trinkets. But this was my favorite thing:

My mom never made it beyond the 8th grade. She began a string of jobs after that--most of them are mentioned HERE.

We all leave a trail behind us when we leave this life. Some of it wreckage, some of it rose petals.


Ms. Moon said...

Such bittersweetness here.

Allison said...

My husband and I have done three of those stuffed to the rafters houses, and we vowed we would not do that to his son. After moving into an RV, we've significantly culled the herd of stuff. I like your rose petals image.

A said...

How dear the forlorn scattered rose petals, the certificate.

37paddington said...

And that certificate has been kept in such a pristine condition. It was obviously cherished.