I remember how pretty the marsh looks in summer, when a storm is coming, and the grass looks neon green against a blackening sky.
I remember the Fourth of July in Savannah that year with Brian. We rode in his Jeep with the top down, drove down to River Street to watch the fireworks. But it was so hot and humid we could barely breathe, like we were sucking air through thick layers of hot, wet gauze. We sat with the crowds by the river, skin burning under a setting sun, sweating, asthmatic in the thick atmosphere, and decided we didn’t want to be there. We got back in his Jeep, a navy blue Wrangler with a tan top and round headlights instead of the rectangular ones, and we drove toward the south side of Savannah. Even with the top down, and the sun down, and the wind blowing by at 50 miles per hour, we still suffocated in the heavy summer air. We drove to the theater, where it was cool, and we could breathe, and we drank iced fountain Cokes, and watched a movie on the Fourth of July.
I remember when I was training for the AIDS Ride, and I rode my bike in a 50 mile ride for the American Lung Association. The ride was in Maryland, where we lived at the time, and it was hilly. About two miles from the end, there was a hill that veteran riders called “The Wall.” I was an amateur cyclist at the time, a total neophyte, and when I got to that hill, and I started pedaling up it, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. My thighs screamed with the effort, my lungs burned, and as I fought for every pedal stroke, red-faced and gasping, I passed a hand painted sign on the side of the hill that said, “This is what it feels like to have asthma.”
I remember dropping periwinkle snails in the black mud of our creek at low tide, how surprised I was every time that those lightweight little snails, smaller than the acorns of live oaks, would sink so deep in the softness, leaving holes like someone had stuck her finger in the mud.
I remember making marsh romping shoes with my older brother in summer. Nailing old sneakers to 18 inch squares of plywood, fashioning snowshoe-like footwear so that we could walk above the mud instead of sinking deep, to our knees or our thighs, in the slimy black muck.
I remember when my husband (then boyfriend) was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. His hiking partner’s girlfriend and I would drive through the snowy mountains and meet them in little towns along the trail on the weekends. One weekend, we couldn’t visit them, so she and I planned to have dinner together instead. When she knocked on my door that Friday night, I opened it to find a grizzled man on my doorstep, smiling at me with twinkling eyes. I stared at him, dumfounded, before I squealed and grinned and hugged my husband (then boyfriend).
I remember repairing Bun Bun’s ear. I remember researching stuffed animal hospitals because this was too important a task for me to screw up. Bun Bun’s ear was the part our daughter loved, the part she rubbed against her cheek as she sucked her thumb, the part her fingers worried absently as she stared out the window in the car. When the tip of Bun Bun’s ear came undone, when our daughter had worried it til the seams unraveled, and the tip wore through and dangled like a hangnail, it needed to come off before more damage was done. I remember our daughter had a doctor kit, and she took Bun Bun’s blood pressure before I commenced with surgery.
Our daughter and I journaled together today. We set a timer for 20 minutes and used the writing prompt “I remember” from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing down the Bones. This is my entry. (edited 8/6/13 – see The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember for more details and other writers’ entries)