Lean Into

Aug. 1st, 2010 08:00 pm
[personal profile] lhexa
I spent several of my childhood summers at Inspiration Point, an opera camp in the Ozarks. Many stories from there need to be told, but I will proceed slowly, as the material is too valuable, too rare to shape in bulk. For now: at Inspiration Point there was a place called the Red Barn. Built over a steep slope, its foundation contained the scene shop, with wide doors letting out near the stage, while its ground floor contained a maze of costumes and accessories, with smothering aisles of bewildering clothing and odd little rooms overflowing with shoes and hats. The top floor contained a slightly elevated platform holding most of the props, and more besides that platform, but I cannot remember the more, only the prop space. I revisited Inspiration Point two weeks ago, and once more explored the entire Red Barn thoroughly, but I still cannot remember anything on the top floor except the prop space.

At first I was afraid of the space because of the bats that lived above it, and while my mother accompanied me up there to show me that they were harmless, that wasn't to be the only fear that I braved to see that space. It contained marvels, objects which had enhanced the camp's productions, such things as ornate books, plastic fruit, toy pistols and pocket watches. I was particularly fond of the antique swords, which I would swing around imaginatively for the minute or so my arms could lift them. One day while roaming this space I found a new reason to be afraid of it, for I had not yet encountered Tarot cards. I found a deck of them, flipped through it, fascinated, until I reached one of the scarier cards, then bolted in fear. A combination of curiosity and pride eventually led me back, though for a long period I would refuse to look at the table that held the deck. Thoughts about the nature of courage, pre-philosophical you might call them, occupied my mind while the fear was still strong. By the time of my return, the remnants of the fear had turned into something sublime, and instead of courage I thought about continuity.

A later musing on continuity occurred as I drove home from Dallas today. A peculiar craving had snagged me all weekend, namely a desire for Taco Bell food, but the preferences of friends and family had precluded stopping there, until I found myself nearing home with the fixation still present despite a sizable meal a few hours prior. I wondered at this craving, my ideas not budging it, as though it were irreducible. However, I recalled by chance what may have been the first time I ate that food. That day Kevin and I had climbed, swum, explored, and, knowing us, probably discussed heroism; now, we were being driven home from the state park, lounging in the back of my mother's minivan with seats folded down. Our doubtlessly worthy efforts had left us drained and hungry, but there was cheap and copious food to be found on the way back, adding satiety to serenity. Kevin and I shared many profound moments, that one among them; and yes, some stupid corporation shared the moment with us, too. Having remembered this moment, the craving dissipated. I do not want to seek out a grown Kevin now, as I would rather miss the child than mourn the adult. But I suppose a discussion of sorts may still be had with him: I can still ask Kevin the child his thoughts about what Eric the child became.

I endeavor to maintain continuity in order to develop the good in my past while isolating the bad, but two major discontinuities hinder this effort. At twenty the major part of me died, after which there could be no continuity but purposeful continuity with what came before, leaving a self continued by inheritance rather than identity. More pertinently, before fourteen I was wordless, my writing having not yet begun. For all later times I can read myself, but for times prior I must remember.

When I returned to Inspiration Point two weekends ago their summer session had just ended, leaving people scurrying to pack and leave. I walked among the bustle, looking at my childhood locales both with impunity and without permission. I visited the costume shop, the sleeping quarters, the stage and the dungeon-like dressing rooms below them, and no one knew I did not belong there. By sneaking into my past, I discovered it to be real. I found that I can, by grace or cleverness, as it were lean into my past and dispel its wordlessness by giving it words such as these. And in my re-exploration of a sacred place from my childhood I encountered one of this world's perfections: the Red Barn was still there, the prop space was still there, the deck of cards was still there, and the card Death was still there.

Date: 2010-09-02 11:52 pm (UTC)
wickedorin: Dissidia!Ex-Mode!Seph (Default)
From: [personal profile] wickedorin
And for this I can offer no words but to say that I've enjoyed this little glimpse.

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lhexa

January 2012

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