Recherche le temps perdu (Search of lost time)

I finished up a client call early this afternoon just up the street from tonight’s LA Friday Coffee location. Sitting in Jennifer’s Coffee, one of my favorite, comfy, coffee bars, I sat looking out the window as the light diminished at the end of the day. It is slightly overcast today, with rain coming in late tonight, so the light had that grey-blue character I often saw growing up in Northern Ohio.

Looking out the windows I got a distinct chill and felt like reaching for a warmer sweater or perhaps a lap blanket. My conscious mind knew that it wasn’t that cold out, but somewhere, deep within my memories, I felt my childhood winters past.

This type of reverie strikes me occasionally, especially at the end of a long week like this one. I’m a little worn out. My guard is down. My LA urban persona slips a bit and lets some of the Ohio farm boy out. Those around me wouldn’t notice, of course, but I suddenly feel different. Here I am in the middle of LA but my mind is wandering around the fields and small towns of my childhood.

Proust had it right in his title. It really does seem like time lost. Nearly 24 year away has made my past seem more like a dream or a movie watched long ago through sleep-heavy eyes. Did I really grow up there? Was live really like that? Surely, it must have been something I made up. It doesn’t seem possible that I was once that person when I feel so different now.

Still, there are pictures, family and friends from that time more than willing to confirm that it all did exist — that the snow drifts and the flood waters once surrounded our home — that Grandma welch once tilled a 1/2 acre garden out back and that my friends and I once rambled through the hay lofts of barns, building forts, walking along open beams and watching the barn cats stalk their prey.

Our memories sneak up on us when we least expect it. Suddenly you are remembering places, names and events you haven’t thought of in years and then, just as quickly, your are ripped back into the present by a cell phone ringtone, the squeal of brakes or the honking of a horn.

What memories come to you at twilight?

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1 Response to Recherche le temps perdu (Search of lost time)

  1. Doug, this is absolutely beautiful. I’m so glad you wrote this. Lovely imagery. These kinds of thoughts/memories come to me too, like you said, when the weather shifts. Of course, it helps IF we stop to take the TIME to let these thoughts rise up from those back corners of our minds. And they tend to give me perspective… to see how far I’m come (or not)… and to recall how I felt, for example, when I first moved to LA. I never would have DREAMED, all those years ago, living in Chattanooga or Atlanta, that I’d be here now and that I’ve had all the amazing experiences I’ve had. Maybe you’re reflecting because of your recent birthday? Or Joe’s upcoming birthday? Or, maybe it’s just the sun-rain-sun-rain weather we’re having today. At any rate, keep writing!

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