Monday, February 28, 2011

flying in winchester cathedral

she gets out on the road early, heading down to boston and the northshore. the day is bright, but numbingly cold. didn't take the time to warm up the car, so the car is an icebox. the seat heater works quickly, though. in her head she says a silent thank you to whomever it was in the automobile industry who remembered the shivering people in the north country, and mercifully invented the derriere toaster.

after a while she needs music. the ipod touch is already plugged in. she presses the ON button and then the small, round CD/AUX button on the dashboard. the display lights up and playlists, albums, and artists scroll across the screen as she turns the knob. this is the hard part. with thousands of good sounds to choose from, how can this choice ever be easy? she thinks, woman what mighty dilemmas you have.

driving south on 95, she decides to leave the morning music decision to chance. she turns the knob for artist selection for a moment, and without looking at it, stops, then presses once, twice, for her surprise artist, her surprise song.

wooden ships, by crosby, stills and nash. so it will be. good. play on.

she sails away with c, s and n, mile after mile. thinks about her mother, about how her mind is starting to collapse with alzheimers. today she will sit with her, eat lunch with her, chat as much or as little as her mother's now mysterious brain allows, hold her hand, look into her eyes. she will not cry in front of her mother.

song after song plays. a favorite: southern cross....when you see the southern cross for the first time, you understand now why you came this way....

the time passes quickly; she is astonished to find she doesn't even remember going by the last three exits. a car suddenly appears in the rear view mirror moving at a crazy clip. it is zipping in and out of lanes insanely, passing cars and speeding down the highway like a runaway racecar. with frightening speed the car is almost on top of her; then it veers into the passing lane and in a flash flies past and is gone. she is cruising at 75 mph. that car must have been going almost 100. she thinks idiot.

c, s, and n sing out .....spirits are using me, larger voices calling.....
then another one. cathedral.
they sing in the car and on my way.....i'm flying in winchester cathedral.....

she is in her childhood home, flying faraway in time. her brother's dog, laddie, lunges and throws his paws up on the table, enthusiastically sticks his face in her mother's just-out-of-the-oven-home-made chocolate cake, and chokes down gooey, rich chunks, hardly stopping to breathe. her mother is scolding the dog. she and her brother are laughing like loons.

i was spinning back in time.....

she sees her mother making thanksgiving dinner for twelve people. everything—stuffing, cranberry sauce, soup, gravy, rolls, cakes, pies—is cooked from scratch. there is not a cookbook in sight. there rarely ever was. her mother just knew the ingredients. remembered them. now much of that ability to remember—names of places, what a book is about, how to knit mittens, who is president, today's date, what an umbrella is for, how to make simple decisions (what shall i eat? what would i like to do now?), how to form thoughts into words, even many of the words themselves—is gone.

let me out of here! the singers cry. soon the lyrics and the sounds fade away. the song is over, finished. in a while she turns off the ipod. she drives the car down the narrow snow and ice gutted road, beside the frozen pond and through the piney woods to her parent's house, the house where she grew up.


alexandra said...

I enjoyed reading this one. Well done. I did hear you got an ipod, nice huh?

Anonymous said...

Very sad and very beautiful. I finally caught up with your blog.