Our things arrived from France a few days ago. They didn’t arrive alone. Stored within those boxes were years of memories we had made while living abroad. I am a reluctant remember-er. Memories don’t always cooperate, and sometimes the ones you’d rather keep buried resurface all the same.
I was reluctantly remembering as I went up into the attic to store some of the things that we won’t be using right away – some shelves from our curio cabinet and Christmas wrapping paper. The attic is floored with rough plywood from wall to wall, but it’s still quite empty right now. The rafters and insulation reminded me of the forays my sisters and I used to make up into MawMaw’s attic. Mama’s toys were stored there, and MawMaw would let us play with them if we were careful.
My sisters and I would cautiously open the latch of a small wicker basket and gaze in awe at Mama’s things. She really was a little girl at one time. It was hard to imagine that when I was a little girl myself.
What will be stored in my attic one day? What memories will it hold for me, and what imagination will it inspire in future generations?
It was almost sad to ponder these questions. Happy memories inspire sadness sometimes, too. (Happy memory – MawMaw’s attic. Sad memory – Mama’s things and MawMaw’s house gone because of Katrina. See?) But before I could go too far down that path, a songbird pulled me out of my thoughts.
“Where are you?” I wondered. I could hear him from the other end of the attic, near the vent. I moved in that direction, stood on my tiptoes, and peeked through the louvers. Nothing. “Come on, now. Where are you hiding?” His song kept me searching. He sounded so cheerful, not melancholy at all – despite the darkness of the attic, the cold, grey day outside. No, he did not notice those things. He was happy all the same.
“Ah – there you are!” He wasn’t hiding at all. He perched himself on the bare branch of a bush outside the living room window – it was I who was hiding, not the songbird. “A redbird.” That’s what my beautiful mother-in-law Margueritte called them – not cardinals, but redbirds. Margueritte is in the loving arms of her Savior now. I think she sent me the redbird to me.
A reminder to just throw it all to the wind and remember.