In the days when life was less loud and messy … and mostly, fixable with a good night’s sleep, my family was as big as the biggest oak tree that you could imagine. There were branches and branches of relatives in every combination and configuration, with which, a human being can lay claim to a leaf on a family tree … grandparents and great grannies, cousins galore … and, as if that wasn’t enough … second, third and fourth cousins … likewise aunts and uncles … to say nothing of the once and twice removed, lot – that nobody ever got … but counted them as kin … or, at least – ‘married-in’.
And then, the party would commence. Records were played, of someone’s favorite tunes – that, inevitably, conjured forth special memories. The words ‘remember when’ rustled through the air like colorful autumn leaves fluttering before the fall. And immense backyard bonfires were lit, that threatened to burn down the house of the host … but never did. Instead ‘goings-on’, such as those, were celebrated in hilarious family anecdotes … to be retold, again and again, at future reunions … and funerals.
Small town Canada … like small towns, everywhere … has changed a lot, since then. People move away and no one ever goes back. Many of the leaves from the family tree have fallen … or toss … on far off winds, never to return. Those wonderful, wonderful ‘get-togethers’, of people who genuinely wanted to spend time with each other … who wanted the best for each other … are gone … long gone … many years now … though my mind casts back to them … often … in my rambles …………
I linger before
a huge dead tree trunk
feeling the serenity of acceptance
there ... in what remains
of what once was
note: 'warts and all' means to reveal something in its totality, and not conceal the less attractive aspects. The expression is said to have come from Oliver Cromwell’s instructions to his portrait painter to paint him ‘warts and all’ and not in the style of the day, which was to flatter the sitter.
photo: taken in Lynn Headwaters Park in North Vancouver – P. Bourke
© 2017 Wendy Bourke