The Back End of the Year
Julieanna Blackwell, Community Contributor
Friday, September 17, 2010
On a hot and steamy summer afternoon, we were preparing for an outing with our neighbors, and alas, we needed more ice for the cooler. Already slathered in sunscreen, I tossed on a T-shirt and shorts over my bathing suit and headed to the grocery store. As with most trips to the market, I inevitably pick up more things than just a bag of ice. In the produce department, it hit me right in my nose, and nearly knocked the watermelon out of my arms.
Hoisting the melon into my cart, the sweet scent of cinnamon seemed to charge at me from a box next to the cut flowers. The cinnamon brooms were once again on display and doing their job in preparing shoppers for the holidays, by filling the back of the grocery store with a host of sense memories.
I learned about sense memory from my theatrical training 17 lives ago. My mind’s projection booth instantaneously went into overload when the pungent aroma of the dried twigs broke open boxes of images from my memory banks. A picture of pressed butter cookies cooling on racks in my kitchen passed before my mind’s eye, and quickly followed by an image of caramel corn drying in the oven. Then, turkey — need I say more.
Sense memory is funny, it can transcend beyond smell. It can conjure up a memory of a touch as well. There wasn’t a pumpkin in sight, but I suddenly could feel slimly gourd innards oozing between my fingers as I harvest the seeds. October is already in stock. I’m not prepared for Halloween; we haven’t even decided on the family theme for our costumes yet.
I am not ready. There is a watermelon in my cart, and its destiny is to be cubed, and then severed to sandy little hands at the beach. I’m not ready. It’s still summer and I don’t know were it went. My baby is back in school, and now we are discussing middle school. I’m not ready.
Standing in the back of my grocery store, I am not ready for the back end of the year. I’m not ready for Thanksgiving. I’m not ready for a birthday and an age I can’t imagine and sounds foreign to me. I’m not ready for Halloween, Black Friday, Internet Monday, Christmas, New Years and Boxing Day. I’m not ready.
I’m not even ready for the beach because we need some ice. Once we put the ice in the cooler, the drinks will be ready, we will go to the beach, and we will have fun. We will stick around for the sunset. And well, I’m ready for that. I’m ready to sit in my beach chair, run my feet along the sand, and hold my husband’s hand and watch the sun take a dip before nightfall. It’s only September.
With my toes in the sand and a cold drink in my hand, I have to remember that the back end of the year looks just like the beginning of the year.