Friday, September 16, 2016

Spring Cleaning

It’s not spring yet officially until two more weeks, but the warm, sunny days and the fragrant freesias blooming in my garden activate my spring urges. Our apricot tree wears soft white blossoms, and the perfumed air is intoxicating.
When I’m not outside talking to the seeds I planted, encouraging them to rise and shine, I’m tackling projects like cleaning out a closet in the spare bedroom. It’s a job I’ve dreaded – sorting through boxes and albums of slides taken by my parents on multiple trips and cruises to Jamaica, Norway, Scottish Highlands, the Pacific Northwest, Chile. Ten boxes, 70 slides per box. Through a mini-viewer I quickly check for people photos. Here’s a surprise. Shots of two survivors of the plane crash in the Andes involving an Uruguayan rugby team. They were staying at the same hotel as my parents while here in Chile for my wedding.
  I scan for good photos of my parents to save: my father gazing up at the Matterhorn, and stretched out for a siesta on a Jamaican beach; my mother, a Jackie Kennedy look alike, petting a burro, and posing before a bright flowering poinsettia bush. I study their facial expressions, the way my father stands slightly hunched, my mother’s wide smile. It seems unfeeling to throw out the slides, their memories, but they are not my memories. Now ten years after my mother’s death and twenty after my father’s I feel ready to let go. I’ve saved a few dozen – my first step towards photo closure.

            There is more in that dusty closet that I must face: my son’s paintings from childhood art classes, my own attempts at painting, binoculars inherited from my husband’s grandfather, a fishing tackle box, a game of Scrabble and…a slide projector. I tell my husband, “We can put the slides of our travels into the empty carousels – your stay in Germany training for the Mexican Olympics and my Peace Corps years.”  Maybe someday we’ll have a slide show and reminisce about the days when we were young.

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