Over the past two days I’ve had three different conversations about my life in Scotland. By the time I got in my car to drive home, I was deeply homesick for it, mostly the friends and coworkers I miss, but also mundane bits like Christmas Eve in Waitrose, random herds of curious horses, learning how to ride the bus in a foreign land, and frost-covered moss. I was thinking of that moss when I encountered the frost-dusted leaf in this photo.
Homesickness is generally expressed as a one person, one place phenomenon, but I have experienced waves of homesickness for every place I’ve ever lived. I even yearn for Alabama from time to time, especially the late afternoon summer thunderstorms that shake the magnolia trees, all slick green and heavy cream. Does it make me feel fickle sometimes? Sure. Someone once excoriated my use of the word “favorite” because, in his words, “They can’t all be favorites.”
Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Trains” by Poppy Ackroyd.
Pictured is not Dark Tower, the awesome electronic board game I loved as a child, but rather The Black Tower, the delicious dessert at local Thai place Passorn.
But now that Dark Tower was mentioned at dinner, I cannot get it out of my head.
Nostalgia is dangerous. It can seduce us with claims of an unblemished past, suggesting that a portal to this past is within our grasp. But I know — as we discussed over dinner — that the experience of playing Dark Tower now is not the same as the memory of playing it thirty-five years ago. Still, I enjoyed peeping into the portal with this commercial.
I wonder which memories of my time in Scotland will trigger that nostalgic impulse. There will be plenty lurking about my subconscious, I’m sure. Certainly one of them has to be skirting the Links, chatting away with Gav about a story I’m struggling to write.
Writing from: a chilly kitchen, now that the lounge is devoid of furniture. Listening to: that clock that never keeps the right time, still ticking away.
It has taken a while, but I think I can make my mom’s meatloaf almost the way she makes it. And although I cannot divulge the recipe, if you are ever a meat-eating guest in my house, I would be happy to make it for you. Just ask. (I have tried making it vegetarian but it results in oven puke.)
My mom’s meatloaf is something from my childhood that I treasure, one of a few dishes that means “home” to me. Finally being able to do this recipe justice is a wonderful thing. I like serving it with sweet and spicy green beans, but my mom used to serve it with her special mashed potatoes. I can still see three heaping plates on the round wooden table in our kitchen. Sometimes it would be so cold outside that the window would steam up, fogging us in our little safe harbor.
What is one of your favorite food memories from childhood?
These mornings are so foggy in the Sunset. Foghorns remind me of my beloved. I wrote a poem about an evening of ours, years ago, set to the soundtrack of a foghorn. Ever since then, I cannot hear a foghorn without thinking of him. I realize now how apt the symbolism is.
This Saturday will be the fifth anniversary of the day I kissed him goodbye on the eve of his move to Scotland. Coincidentally, it was my half-birthday, so I never forgot the date. I tried. I tried to forget so much, but I kept hearing foghorns.
It is gray inside the building today, which reminds me of December, which in turn reminds me of last December and my last job. Our big project was just about to launch. The launch had been pushed back, and the new launch date conflicted with my holiday vacation. The team changed the launch date again so I could be present.
I felt very lucky to be so cherished. I also felt overwhelmed and disenchanted and other things.
To think that I have not once visited a website I used to visit hundreds of times a week.
In the moment, we tend to think that our little importances, good or bad, will extend forward indefinitely. But the moment after this one, and this one, and this one, always proves that wrong.
I miss certain aspects of every remembered moment of my life, be it perspective, innocence, determination, or merely the me-ness in that moment that no longer exists, no longer can exist, the air in a bubble popped.