Just a few weeks ago, on Byron's birthday, I was searching through some old photo albums looking for a baby picture of him to remind myself of our advancing years. Why I like to remind myself of this on birthdays, I'm not sure, but nothing brings the passage of years to my attention better than comparing the youthful images of myself and my loved ones to our current aged state. I remember when Byron was the baby in the photo, and now he's solidly in his thirties, and even his babies aren't babies any more. Whoa. Time really is real. If my baby brother is all grown up now, how old does that make me?!
As of Monday, it makes me thirty-seven! Now, thirty-seven is really old if I were a horse, but if I were a bowhead whale, who can live for a couple hundred years, I would just be getting started on life. So I'm trying to keep my age in perspective.
While perusing one of the photo albums that belonged to my grandmother, who kept albums for all the grand kids to inherit (she also kept a journal, so I like to think she would appreciate a blog), I was struck by the photo compilation on the page above. That's me, in the month I turned four. The page is titled, in my grandmothers hand, "Going Home" and on the page is a photo of the little house my parents built in the woods where I grew up, our flock of chickens, the mamma goat, Heidi, with her rambunctious baby billy goat, and me, running down the long gravel driveway through the woods to the house.
My first memories are from my fourth year. I even remember when the baby goat was born, which I'm sure is such a vivid memory because I stepped on some after birth with my bare feet! The arrival of the baby goat was very exciting, I'm sure, which is why someone, presumably my dad, carried the new baby goat over to the front door of the house to show me even though I was already in bed. I stumbled, bleary eyed and in my pajamas from my bed and down the stairs to see what the commotion and excitement was about, and as I approached the tiny gooey looking goat on the rug by the door, I stepped on something wet, pink, and gross. Shudder. This is not a sensation easy to forget, and even now, thirty-three years later, I can feel it between my toes when I think about it. Maybe I was awed by the wonder of new life, but my sleepy little brain was permanently grossed out too. This doesn't stop me from day dreaming about having goats some day, but in my dreams I'm always wearing shoes!
The Going Home pictures make me wonder if it's possible that my garden, my chickens, my tiny farm house with a long gravel driveway, and even my desire for goats are all semi-unconscious attempts to recreate my four year old life.