The Carousel of Time

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Carousel of Time

The Songwriter belongs to a unique club, one whose membership seems to dwindle with each passing year. You see, he is one of the few people who actually still resides in the neighbourhood into which he was born. On our daily walks with Edward and Apple, he is traversing the same streets he ran down as a boy. He passes by his family home nearly every day. Even the trees are old friends. To the now elderly neighbours who knew him as a youngster, he will always remain precisely that. He will never age a moment from that afternoon in the sixties when he and his best friend blasted Beatle songs from the rooftop of his house for all the world to hear.

To be sure, there are pros and cons for this deeply rooted existence. Sometimes the changes, inevitable though they may be, can be painful. A couple of years ago, Mrs. Pennington’s house was torn down. Hidden for years within an tangled thicket of trees and brush, no doubt few of our neighbours even knew it was there. Mrs. Pennington herself, nudged by her age, had moved out some time ago. But she’d lived there as long as The Songwriter could remember and we hated to see her go. A highly respected artist and historian, Mrs. Pennington could be counted upon to pass by our cottage at sunset each day on her arm-swinging constitutional - braless, and sporting a well-loved Che Guevara t’shirt. An arresting sight I can tell you, and one that I miss even today. It’s sad to see these old characters depart and no doubt we feel it more sharply the longer we’ve known them.

But if Joni Mitchell is correct, and who am I to question Joni, we are all on a carousel ride through time - able to occasionally look back, but never return. And happily, we keep picking up new riders all the time. So, on balance, I would have to recommend a life with such deep connections. They can, after all, provide a sweet comfort.
When it’s Springtime, we know to head over to The Melton’s azalea garden for the Easter Egg Hunt. At Christmas, Wayne and Brian’s house will be the most charming, with the vintage Santa smiling down from the eaves. We look to Cecil for sunflowers in summer and we smile every afternoon at one-year old Walter who sits with his nanny, waving at passersby from atop his newly built garden wall.

And on a cool evening late last week, I baked a cake, tied it up with a lavish pink bow and The Songwriter and I carried it up the familiar driveway of his childhood home, climbing the front stairs, knocking on the familiar white door. For several years now, there has been a new couple living here. The Songwriter stopped by to welcome them on the afternoon they moved in. Warm, charming, and oh-so-young, they have just had their first child - Emily Cait, the very first baby in this house since The Songwriter himself.
Was yours the bedroom on the back of the house?”, the new mother asked.
Yes. It was”, came the reply.
Oh, good! That’s Emily Cait’s!”, she said, grinning wide.

The four of us looked down at the tiny creature, dressed all in pink.
The carousel’s spinning.
And we smile.