POV: Small Worlds.

Friday, May 2, 2014

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories. 


When I was growing up, there was a tree in my front yard that I loved to climb. It had sprawling branches, bark mottled with mold and moss, and leaves so green and alive they glowed. On one end of the tree, three separate limbs converged to form a seat, and I would sit there after school, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone with a book.

In third grade, I hung a plastic globe from a branch on the opposite side, and from my “seat,” I'd pretend I was in lost in space, drifting in a sea of stars. If I tried hard enough, I could convince myself I was airborne and on a mission, that I was far, far away from the world I knew.
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These were my first inklings of travel, of living in exotic places, of experiencing cultures beyond my own. And though I had the happiest childhood imaginable - the happiest teen-hood, even - there was never a question that I would leave home for college, or continue moving afterward.

For the past few days, I've been in LA helping my parents pack up their house in preparation for a move. I've been given the job of sorting through boxes of family photographs, and have spent most afternoons this week with my feet submerged in a pool of prints.

There are literally thousands: decades of Christmases, birthdays, and school singalongs, our faraway cousins in snow suits, and our grandparents at the Grand Canyon. There's one of my mom with Rod Stewart, and another of my dad smoking a cigarette, looking like he could be sitting in any Williamsburg coffee shop in the present day. There are shots of my brother and me, dyeing Easter eggs, laughing in a photo booth, painting our faces on Halloween. There are cards and letters mixed in, too. In one, my dad writes to my mom (in reference to us): "Thanks for the miracles."

Revisiting it all has felt like its own journey through space: visiting forgotten planets, relearning old faces, reading long-lost words. It's reminded me that while it's important to realize the world is vast and varied, it's wonderful to remember how small it is, too. How much our parents loved us, and still do. How at one time, leaving home meant spending an afternoon in the cosmos and returning home in time to set the table and get ready for bed.

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You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, here. Thank you so much for your support, as always. Photo via my Instagram.

23 comments:

tiffany said...

so true. after just rushing back to my childhood home to spend time with my dad in the hospital, i am experiencing this exact same emotion. a type of homesickness i haven't felt in years, and a reminder of the small and important things.

what a great post.

Daina Ankrum said...

Beautiful post.

Sarah Noel said...

Love this and the foreshadowing of always being on the go, always moving forward. I sensed that once too, and then we so quickly got rooted here. I think that's why the move seems like such a big deal--but it also feels like a return to my old self. Onward! See the world! :)

And see you soon!

Rachel said...

=] This made me happy. Hope you're having/had a fabulous time in LA!

girlseeksplace said...

So true. I appreciate going home even more now, especially since I don't get to see my parents very often.

Kathy said...

When I read "How much our parents loved us, and still do" my heart just broke. It's so true.

kiko said...

I love your POV. Period.

Anonymous said...

Really beautiful.

Shoko said...

Tiffany, I hope your dad is feeling better!

Raquel R. said...

Writing from the heart. Beautiful.

burntfeather said...

Ah how incredibly sweet, you and your dad also obviously share a talent for using words in the sweetest way possible to :)

I better go ring my family and give them some love I think!

tara said...

Your tree spot sounds so fun! When I was in junior high, I used to climb onto the roof. There's something so comforting about being far away.

Love the photo of you! I wouldn't be much help packing because I'd be so busy looking at it all!

Tiffany said...

it was always my favorite thing to sort through the photographs. one time, i had to help my mum go through the really old ones from the 50's and 60's. it was better than watching a film.

Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meghan Silva said...

Really what a beautiful post. Like they say a picture can really help one relive many memories.

Meg | Meghan Silva's Blog

stateandoccupation.com said...

You two are so unbelievably cute! I'm so thankful to have some downtime to catch up with you here.

xox, Dakota
http://stateandoccupation.com/
(formerly dakotabee.wordpress.com)

Rachel Weaver said...

i always feel at a complete and total loss when it comes to expressing how much I adore these words.

Shoko said...

Fee, thank you! That's so nice of you to say - he's a wonderful writer.

Tiffany, that sounds amazing. What a special memory.

Ellie, I can relate so much to that. Thank you for your kind words!

Dakota, I'm so glad to have you here - thank you for reading.

Rachel, thank you so much! What a wonderful compliment!

smallworldthisis said...

Such a beautiful snapshot of childhood imagination.

everydayshine said...

I love that you were able to capture a totally nostalgic feeling with your words. totally took me to that moment!

Pink Ronnie said...

Still reading. Love catching up on your posts...
I hope you publish these one day!
Ronnie xo

Inês said...

Beatiful! I just found your blog and I am Reading old posts and I am loving every single word of them =)

Shoko said...

Thank you so much, Ines! That means the world to me.

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