Sunday, July 03, 2005

Hope Remains Where All Has Changed

One of my recent visitors is a talented writer. He captures the mood and scenary with a flair that places the reader where he is. Narthex of Sleeping In Sanctuary puts those talents to good use here. He describes a painful homecoming and mourns the loss of his own history. Witness his experience:

As I turned the corner, I realized this was the alley leading to my grandfather's house. It was at the end of the cul-de-sac and the gates and adjacent buildings were unmistakable to me once I saw it. What I didn't recognize was beyond the gate.

I had been here only five years ago and there was no building in what used to be the driveway, courtyard and garden. The fish pond had been filled years ago and there was a cafe there last time. The thought that they destroyed the little altar at the end of the pond inside a structure modeled after the one pillar pagoda in Hanoi was distraughtful to me. There is a night club in the space where a garden used to be. The place where I climbed all over the footbridge leading out to the pagoda. I remember climbing the ficus tree next to it to reach the star fruit tree behind the pagoda and picking its fruit. The fruit from that tree was never sweet but it never stopped me from picking and eating.

Can't you feel his sense of loss? Ah, but hope remains where all has changed.

Read the rest. Find out for yourself what I'm talking about.

Back so soon?


Narthex reminds me of the history I lost. The apple tree grew out of a ten-by-ten patch of dirt that we called a back yard. It's mighty trunk would take ten of us kids to encircle holding hands. The trunk split into two mighty divisions that stretched to the sky. That tree became my delight. My old neighbor and good friend Dean Sterino, only a few years my senior, joined me up in that tree for so many adventures. One time we piloted the Starship Enterprise against the infamous space-born Yellow-eyed Monster. We had such fun on that tree.

Years passed. My family moved a county away. Dean and I saw each other from time to time. Of course, it was never the same. Soon the old house in Webber Park became a memory. I grew up with new friends and places to forge childhood memories. Then one day I visited my old home. I walked up the old hill of a driveway as though I was the long-lost landlord returned after a life's journey abroad. I came to my old backyard. A stump jutted out of the ground where my childhood companion and locale of such good times once stood. Gone, the canopy of green, the towering arms of motted brown and gray that shook the sky. Gone the tire that hung off the left trunk-branch. Gone, a child's memory. The new homeowners had cut it down. That was that.

More years passed. I married, held Mira's hand as Frankie entered the world. He grew. We soon needed more space. The two-bedroom townhouse with the unfinished basement would not last us much longer. She balanced a budding Real Estate business and Frankie's care. My teaching career alone would not afford us more than that Co-op. Then my Father had one of his brainstorms. He and Mom lived three doors down in the same Co-op. He proposed we sell our townhouses and move into a house together. They could install a summer kitchen, so that we could enjoy some privacy throughout the year while sharing some meals together as an entire family. We did that last year.

Yesterday I looked across my backyard from my deck. We had all just finished dinner. That's when I saw it. It stood tall and discreet near my neighbor's property line. It was mine. I could see the small green apples swelling on her branches. Her trunk even divided shortly after it arose from the ground. We had an apple tree once more. Frankie could have his own adventures in his own backyard.

Hope remains where all has changed.