Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comfort Memories

From time to time we all need a dose of "comfort memories" to get us through the day and replenish our mental facilities. "Comfort memories" are memories that are deeply etched in our minds and give us a sense of joy and emotional fullness and calmness when we recall them. They replenish our emotional state and leave us happier for having remembered them. One of my favorite comfort memories comes from the summers I spent on the farm with grandpa and grandma P.
The day is hot and stifling. It has been getting hotter minute by minute all afternoon. There is hardly a bit of breeze and I can see the heat devils rising from the fallow strips in the dryland field down the road. The yard around the house is grassy and shaded by trees and sits on a bit of a rise, giving me a view into the distance where I can see grandpa and my uncle on their tractors working in the fields. More accurately, I can see the rooster tails of dust rising up from behind the tractors as they move round the fields.  I am still young enough that I don't work the fields, but old enough to be left alone at the house as grandma has gone elsewhere. I can see to the horizon more than 20 miles away. I can close my eyes and dream my big dreams and plan my future and wonder what we will have for supper and ...
I see the clouds billowing up in the distance, being fed from the heat rising off the ground, growing higher and higher and turning darker and darker. As they slowly approach, they are changing from the cotton puffs of earlier in the day to the menacing thunderheads that blanket the the entire horizon. The breeze starts to pick up and the heat devils are joined by dust devils as they merrily play a game of tag and spin round crazily. The arrival of the breeze is the signal for me to go inside. The storm is getting close.
Once inside the house, the storm continues to journey closer. The day that was so bright only moments ago is now darkening as the sun falls behind the towering thunderheads. The wind begins to gust with that here and there, uncertain motion that presages the possible coming of rain. The wind in its vigor and uncertainty makes the screens on the open windows whistle and zing bewitchingly. Grandma's sheer curtains fly up to the ceiling and down again and again, like ghosts hoping to play. It's almost as if the storm is trying to sing to me through the screens and the curtains are dancing to the melody. The temperature begins to drop, falling from the upper nineties to the seventies in moments. It feels good to have the cooling breeze running through the house and over my skin after the lazy heat of the day. The thunder and lightning continues in the distance, coming ever closer, getting ever louder.
Suddenly the crescendo of thunder and lightning and wind peaks and then just as suddenly begins to begins to fade. The sun once more emerges from behind the clouds as they continue their march into the distance, carrying the thunder and lightning and wind with them. Shortly the only way to know that it really happened is the cooler temperature and the fact that the yard outside is covered in newly fallen leaves and twigs. I can go back outside and continue my contemplations as I watch the dark clouds recede into the distance. The world is once more a place a dreams.

To this day, all I have to do is hear that characteristic zing of the screens in the breeze and I am transported back to those times, times of feeling all is right with the world and that all is working as it should. Times of infinite possibility when the future was mine to craft. When I want to think deeply or just calm myself, I imagine the zing of the wind in the screens and then I am back there, in my wonderful memory.

What are some of your "comfort memories?"

Time to go for a walk and get ready for the council meeting tonight. It could be a long one, so I figured I'd get this out early.

Completely off topic, but I can't help myself.  I was reading National Geographic the other day and came upon the factoid that that at birth a blue whale is about 25 feet long and weighs 3 tons. I then compare that to the blogs where mothers to be are hoping that the forthcoming little one is not going to be a ten pounder. What does a momma blue whale wish for? Not only that, but the baby blue whale, eating nothing but mother's milk, gains 9 pounds an hour. So how does a momma blue whale feel at the end of a long day of nursing? Just asking.


  1. This is random, but I have a great memory of putting a sheet over a picnic table on a summer day and hiding out under there with my BFF eating fritos and marshmallows. I remember us marveling at what a great and unexpected combination it was, and that this was all we had to do, all day.

    I'd like to have a day like that now, LOL.

  2. Hi………
    Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
    Great! Keep up the great posts…..
    Good week………

  3. My comfort memory would probably take up your whole blog and I wouldn't want to ruin such a great thing that way :) Really nice post Dan. I could feel the breeze on my skin.

    And OMG and your random thought at the end. You made me hurt. I just can't imagine! LOL

  4. What a poetic post!
    And poor mamma blue whale!

    As for my comfort memories, they are all the little small moments that stick in my brain, while I can barely remember "big" things that happened. Having my dad read me "Sword in the Stone" is one. Putting up a tent in the pouring rain on a family camping trip is another.

    lovely post.

  5. Whenever I am going through some stress as an adult I remember being a child at home with no responsibilities. I also have a few comfort memories of my maternal grandparents who weren't around in my life for very long - grampa passed when I was about 7 and grandma when I was about 12 but the few times my sister and I as the eldest two were able to spend with them are engraved in my memory.

  6. Wonderfully written post. I felt as though I was there with you, watching the storm come and go. My comfort memories are almost all of times spent at my grandparents' houses (both sets, maternal and paternal).
    And Jenners is right, poor mama blue whale, indeed. :)

  7. Now you know you are getting into bad territory with the whale analogy, don't you?
    And my comfort memories are so vast - the smell of lilacs, laundry on a line. Fascinating - all things I've tried to duplicate as an adult.


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