Sunday, November 22, 2009

The View from the Rocking Chair

(photo taken at Wooded Glen)

Recently, my husband and I visited an aunt and uncle, who have moved into an adult community. Their one-level house is a great place for an aging couple both of whom are sufficiently infirm that they do not need a high maintenance place.

After I got the tour of their house, the aunt showed me their front--actually side--porch. There were two lounge chairs there, and rocking chairs. We love sitting out here, she said.

There is something about a rocking chair that invites one to sit and watch the world go by. And reminisce.

One of the benefits of growing older is the view--it's like being on a hilltop where you can look down the side you have climbed to get to the peak. And you can also see down the other side--the place you have not yet gone. Ahead of you are many unknowns, but the view is grand.

Since most of us prefer knowns to unknowns, the temptation is to keep looking back to see where we have been.

I catch myself saying--maybe just a bit too frequently--I remember... I try to caution myself not to do that too much in class with the students. Most of these young people were born in 1990 or 1991! What can they possibly want to hear about my memories, many of which pre-date the 1990s by several decades.

Today is a good example--November 22 is a date that has great meaning to someone who was a freshman in college in 1963. Those of us alive then can remember EXACTLY where we were when we got the news that President Kennedy had been shot. That news was followed soon after by the pronouncement that he had died. It is true that each generation has its momentous day--for my father's generation it was likely the bombing of Pearl Harbor; for others it might be when the space shuttle Challenger blew up on launching, for today's generation, it is likely September 11, 2001.

Ah, yes--the rocking chair feels good--sit there, rock, contemplate the view on both sides of the hill--the view from the journey up, and also the view of the journey down.

A brief note of this journey we are all on--last night, we watched the wonderful animated movie UP. It is a sheer delight of a story--with many sweet messages. But one message is certain--sometimes we hold on to memories for so long that they might keep us from grasping new experiences. If you haven't seen it, do. I think you will enjoy it. In fact, it would be a great movie to rent (or buy) and watch with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.
I remember... How about you?


Anvilcloud said...

I was still in High School but either was home sick (pretty sure it was that) or home from school early enough to catch the news on TV.

Beverly said...

A wonderful post! Yes, I remember this day so well. I had just brought my children in from play. As I walked up the stairs, someone came and said that President Kennedy had been shot. That is the first time I remember sitting glued to the TV and seeing everything transpire.

My daughter made that comment about September 11. She said, "Well, I guess this is like Pearl Harbor was to you all."

And I agree. "Up" is a must see for all the reasons about which you wrote.

LauraO said...

This post touched me - we've recently moved my father-in-law to an assisted living center in town. He is under hospice care and we have been having a lot of "I remember" conversations. They are very healing. Never heard of the movie UP but I'll look for it, thanks.

Jayne said...

November 22, 1963... I was 20 months old, so I don't remember, however, I do have other events etched in my mind now. Rocking chairs are pure bliss. I have a glider rocker I sit in each and every night, and it's the best chair ever.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks for the movie recommendation Donna. I'm going to add it to my Netflix queue.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Just a word can trigger a memory. As soon as you mentioned known and unknown I thougth for sure you were going to quote Donald Rumsfeld,
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

November, 22—I walked into the high school library, between classes, and saw the librarian crying. She told me President Kennedy had been shot and had just been reported dead….

One of those "never forget exactly where you were" moments.

From my riverbank rocker, I consider not only the hill view up and down, but just as often, the journey's meaning…past, present, future.

KGMom said...

To AC and Scribe--gee, thanks for noting that you were in HIGH SCHOOL when Kennedy was assassinated.
And Jayne--20 months old!
Thank goodness for Beverly ;-)

Philip--I would NEVER quote Rumsfeld, at least not intentionally.

RuthieJ--let me know what you think of UP.

LauraO--on a serious note: this is a tough time for you, I am sure. But you will cherish these days with your father-in-law. When folks pass on, we wish we could have them back for just one more conversation--it is good you are having them now.

Climenheise said...

I was just coming home from Malindela Youth Club -- a Friday night in Bulawayo. On that same day C.S. Lewis died: so far as my own life has been, Lewis has had the greater impact.

NCmountainwoman said...

While we built our home to accomodate our aging, both of us realize that such a community might be necessary one day. Much as we love our home, I'm sure we will rock to our heart's content at the adult living community.

Ruth said...

I loved the movie UP and did a post on it after I saw it at the theatre this summer (in 3D). It was the best movie I saw this year. I have met Carl Fredricksen many times in my patients (Ellie too)

Ginnie said...

I believe that remembering the past is fine ... it's when one lives in the past that it is harmful.

Donna Henderson said...

Bravo. Well done. I can so relate. Lovely photo, too. Thanks.

airport rocking chairs said...

Yes, its so true about the comforts of a good rocking chair. They have definetly become a fiber of Americana. They have even made their way to gracing the White House and many airports now have display of rockers for their weary travelers.