Tilting at Change

Koppel china out from the dusty closet and ready for dining once more.

Koppel china out from the dusty closet and ready for dining once more.

It started a few weeks ago when I realized that the sun was hitting my eyes as I read the morning paper.

“Hey, that’s new,” I think.

After checking to see if I’m up later or earlier than usual and realizing, no, this is the same time, same place, I recognize it’s the sun that’s moved. It does that as our globe zooms through its orbit, tilting and shifting along an axis we take for granted.

I’m noticing change like that more than I used to. For the decades of my life experience, I recognize that seasons have come and gone with great regularity – particularly on this north coast. But they have been little more than a reminder that it’s time to shift closets from long to short sleeves and vice versa.

Now – maybe it’s age, maybe it’s experience, or maybe it’s the allergies that have emerged in recent years when moldy spring and fall air overloads my sinuses – I notice the shift and change that accompanies the tilt of the earth. And that shift of change comes with reflection of times past, requiring extra effort to move forward with the seasons.

With spring, I find I’m assaulted with a kaleidoscope of images and memories that comes with, as we say in Minnesota. I remember the parties we planned for the kids on their last day of school – complete with an overload of sugar that led to a sweet coma of excitement.

I remember the intense logistical plans that went into summer activities – “If you can pick up on Tuesdays, I can drop off at the Science Museum for that cool camp. And how will we negotiate the Farm Camp on the U’s campus?” It was a little excessive programming for two kids who may have enjoyed a carefree summer at home.

I find I think of those things now when the time for worrying about that is long gone. The kids are now more than kids, and living on the left coast – far from the summer camps and activities of their youth. It’s time to move on and reflect forward.

Today, I’m setting our table with china we found in the top cupboard of my dear departed mother-in-law’s apartment. It’s beautiful and has made the journey from Madrid to Rotterdam, through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles, and now is living in Minneapolis. The family has no memory of its use in more than 40 years, so cleaning off the dust of disuse reminds me not to dwell in what was for too long. Holding on to things that never see the light of day is really kind of sad, no?

So why do I hold on to those summer memories of the porch door slamming shut followed by the plaintive, “Mahhh-mm!” echoing through the house? Ah well – the “kids” will be home for the weekend, so maybe I’ll hear that once again.