the town

The highest point of the town held a water tower and once I rode down that hill on my scooter using my new shoe as a brake and when I reached the bottom I found the scooter’s tire had burned a big gash into the heel of my shoe.

The lowest point of the town held a lake and once I stubbed my toe in its silty bottom resulting in a trip to the doctor who poked holes in my toenail to relieve the pressure.

The town took away and it gave and it took away and it gave, sometimes it left parts of itself in me, parts that had to be removed, other times the parts remained encysted and grew into hard black stones that never went away.

The town visits me now, frequently, in my dreams. It is the setting for all types of absurd scenarios, completely unrelated to actual events, only tapping memory for details of setting, and even then playing sly with the facts, bending and shaping, but always leaving things just recognizable enough.

I find this unsettling as the town means nothing to me in my present life and I have not been there in many years. There is nothing there for me now. And yet it is the skeleton of my early life. The streets are the bones. There is a house somewhere that serves as the skull, with windows like eyeholes, looking out onto a world I was seeing for the first time.

I feel a pull toward the town and I don’t know why. I think it is the aching for a home, a place I know so well it is a part of me, inseparable from who I am and what I do. A known setting for my life, however I choose to live it, with scenery grown like vines through my blood and bones. The place where it all starts and ends. Home.

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  1. I feel this for the place in which I grew up, give or take the dreaming about it. I wonder if that ache for home – for what we may always subsequently consider to be home – results from how a place hard-wires (or soft-tendrils) itself into our formative minds, so that we judge all subsequent places on that basis. You can live without that home place, but you can never forget it. The same with the music we listened to as our taste was developing.

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    • I think so. My ties to that place feel very organic, imbued with the strange holding power of early memories, when everything is so new and the world is just beginning to come alive to you. Subsequent memories in later life differ for me, rarely imprinting themselves on a place so tightly. The surroundings for the scenes in my mind feel more superficial. Of course I have a habit of not returning to places in my past, so I’m mostly basing this on mental wanderings. I have often considered the idea of taking a walk around my hometown. Who knows what ghosts might be conjured up. It’s been close to 20 years now since I’ve been back. Agreed on the similarity to music, too.

      Reply
  1. the river « lost gander

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