Friday, March 29, 2013

memory of sun, outdoors

I suppose the Sun is one of those cards in this deck where its Swedish providence is especially noticeable - in the style of the clothes that the two children wear, and even more so in the prominence of the moose. It has to be a pretty northern country if such an animal is associated with sunlight and warm rather than winter, snow.

We have pictures of moose - from vacations is Alaska and, I think, perhaps Maine as well. I was too young then to remember much from those trips, and what does stick out in memory does not include any experiences with such creatures. Deer though, I do remember seeing, outdoors.

Its really kind of amusing how much of an outdoorsy scene this sun card is: children playing in the grass, roosters feeding, butterflies fluttering above it all. It's things like this that remind me of how much of a city kid I really am, both in experience and in outlook, preference and predilection. We had a house in the Pocanos in Pennsylvania for a while when I was a kid. It was a big change going out there - so very rural, foresty, quiet. There was lots of grass and forest, dirt roads, wildlife of all sorts. Yes, there were the deer that I saw, coming in twos or threes across the road to nibble at this or that plant. It was nice, sure, to be able to see them, something certainly not possible in New York City.

In America at least, I've only ever seen chickens and roosters at petting zoos, also in Pennsylvania. It was not they, but the goats, that tickled my fancy. For a while we used to drive down there almost every weekend, two hours in both directions, card trips I hated for the motion sickness they caused. There was so much grass to play on and forest to explore - I did neither, much. I was bored outside. It was boring and uncomfortable with all the bugs, the lack of man-made noise. I much preferred to stay indoors and play on the Sega Genesis: the Sonic games, street fighter games, that random game where you played a team of criminals, one short and fat and one tall and skinny, who had to successfully break in and rob various places. I read history for kids books about Pompeii and the sinking of the Titanic, about the life of Anny Oakley and about the Trojan War. I colored in coloring books or watched movies with my father, many of them (in retrospect) not especially age-appropriate but no one objected. I would sit at the table when my mother's friend, who lived nearby, visited and complained about her miserable job as a hotel maid and her husband, who was over twenty years older than her and who she had only married to secure a green card and whose grumpy ass she was now stuck with. He was nicer to his dogs than he was to her, she would say. I sat quietly and listened to them talk.

I did not see the appeal of that kind of outdoors. At home, playing in the backyard and in the street, on stoops and stairs of houses, always some other people around making noise, arguing, that was tolerable sometimes for our imagination games but so much quiet and trees and grass and bugs and why bother?

To this day I cannot help but feel this way. Place me in a city, any city in the world, and I will happily wonder round in it all day, on foot, and never grow bored. I love exploring cities, the nooks and crannies and changing style of the architecture of buildings, whether they be cities full of metal and glass skyscrapers or Eastern European medieval architecture or low slung white structures and fields of trash and wondering goats.  In a city I can enjoy the sun, and I love the contrast of trees and flowers to the man-made things all around them. Looking forward to taking pictures of the blooming cherry blossoms around DC again next week for just that reason. But in an actually rural place, the kind of naturey environs so many people find relaxing, a nice place to get away...I can appreciate PICTURES of such places, but actually put me into one and I will very quickly grow uncomfortable and bored and possibly very paranoid about bugs and feeling itchy for no reason and if forced to remain there I will very soon pull out a book or a game and ignore it all.

Different strokes, different folks and all that.


Carla said...

Wow, that's amazing! I'm the opposite. Cities make me feel tired and grumpy and walking a mile there feels like ten. But put me in a rural setting and I feel energized and can happily walk 10, 14, 16 miles in a day, always distracted by the beauty around me. (It helps that we purposely choose Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to visit!) I'm happiest in an isolated country setting -- no other people in sight for miles, just the land and the sea and the craggy coast path before me.

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

I yam what I yam

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