SPACE-L ArchivesArchiver > SPACE > 2000-05 > 0957623132
Subject: [Space] Sunday Afternoon Rocking
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 10:25:32 EDT
"The Snowball Bush" (from the "Sunday Afternoon Rocking" series)
Strange how the simplest things can trigger memories and a bit of wonder,
can somehow become entwined with the history of a family. My snowball bush
is in bloom. It must have happened overnight. I did not notice it
yesterday, but today great round white fluffs are blooming proudly and
magnificently on that huge grandmother of a bush, and with the blooms a
hundred pictures of a family's past unfolded in my mind. That snowball bush
is a wonder, but for many other reasons than only that it is beautiful!
That snowball bush is the background for a lot of photographs in the "family
archives". I stood in front of it as a teenager and young adult dressed in
prom gowns and graduation gowns. My mother stood in front of it posing for
Mother's Day pictures. The events of this time of the year were always
recorded in front of that bush, because you see...what was once my parents'
home is now my own and where I have raised my own children.
Once my heart was nearly broken over that snowball bush. A few months after
my father's death, when this house stood empty and alone, a tornado broke
the cold silence, and came rip-snorting down the middle of the street in
front, roaring angrily and tearing up everything in its wake. Trees were
twisted from their roots and bushes uprooted. The snowball bush was one of
the casualties. It was gone, ripped down to the ground, yanked from its
nest, and I was sure we had lost it. Not so.... the miracle of nature to
restore its own unfolded, and within a couple of years I noted that snowball
bush was starting to push its way out of the ground again in the same spot!
I thought I lost it again some years back when we had a terrific ice storm.
We sat in the house looking with wonder out the windows at the ethereal
landscape outside, thick shimmering layers of ice packaging the trees and
bushes outside, a literal fairy kingdom, but a dangerous one...and we jumped
and shivered as we heard the cracking and popping of limbs snapping and
breaking to the ground. When it was over, we had lost several trees, and
the snowball bush was in shambles...beaten to the ground, and broken again
to the roots. I thought for sure nature had reclaimed it this time. Wrong
again! Hearty and courageous, when spring came, it struggled and shot up
Now that snowball bush is as huge as it ever was, towering over my head and
dominating that corner of the house. It has once again, for a number of
years, been the backdrop for a lot of photographs in the "family
archives".... pictures of our children all "gussied up" for proms,
photographs on graduation day all have the same background, and tradition
has restored itself again. No doubt Mother's Day will roll around this year
and I will stand with my Mama in front of the same glorious snowball bush
that has been the backdrop for May photographs all of these years.
So...it isn't "just a bush", "just a spot in the landscape". Far more, it
is an integral part of tradition, something to trigger memories, a flood of
emotions, and a sense of wonder. I imagine as my children make their homes,
and begin to attend to all those "domestic chores" that one pays no
attention to until they start settling in more permanent nests of their own,
some of them will most likely subconsciously think they "must have a
snowball bush" for it to be "home", never fully realizing how this became
entwined with their idea of "shoulds to make a home".... just as I thought I
had to have a climbing rosebush dripping with red roses on the
lattice...just as I would have, if I had raised my children any other place
than the traditional home, needed to have planted a snowball bush myself.
Sometimes, I think, those of us to whom history and genealogy is so
important, might consider the many "little things", the things that never
land a spot in genealogy software, never are recounted in the stories of
"who begat who" and where folks migrated. We might think now and then on how
many of those "little things" are just as meaningful to our sense of
tradition as any names or dates...and how those "little things" keep us
"rooted" in our sense of place as surely as knowledge of our ancestors.
just a thought,
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Timothy C. Hoskins
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