Wednesday, September 05, 2007

summer vignettes




More often than not, a piece of my writing has it's genesis formed by one word seed which somehow becomes fertilized and inbedded in the front of my thinking lobe. Captured out of a swirling dervish of other possibilities, the word begins to take on a life of it's own. I have know idea why the generation of the topics I decide to tackle happens this way.....and I have no idea if this is a well known affliction of other writing junkies. It's simply the way it happens, much like pregnancy I guess.
What has been floating around waiting to be netted this week is the word vignette. As I was trying to reflect on the past couple of months, sorting out the summer activities and events while making futile attempts to get organized for the onslaught of the beginning of the school year, I couldn't quite grasp onto the summer events as a whole picture.
Rather, it seemed to be compartmentalized into files...........mine, theirs, ours, his, hers, the two of us, shared, separate, important, joyful, sorrowful, frustrating, fascinating, exciting.........an endless list of files. Some connect with one another, and some stand alone. But, the big picture version of the past summer is yet to be translated into a whole, and I don't think it can be. In order to make sense of it all, I think it's best to capture it as vignettes.
Initially to me, vignette meant a sketched up story, kind of like a postcard version of an event. Then, I checked out the full definition of the lovely word and found that a vignette is also a portrait, often in black and white with shadows where the sides of the picture fade into the whiteness of the paper. As I picture a portrait vignette, I see it as a clear picture at the core and a gradual blurring the farther away you move from the core.
Can you see the pebble thrown into the water and the ripples flowing outward becoming less and less distinct? A vignette from nature.
I hope to share some reflective vignettes over the next couple of days. I want to sketch a few pastel like pictures for you......I want to try my hand at description in postcard portrait form. A beginning, a middle and an open ended flow outward.

A vignette. Here is my first one.


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It was late afternoon. The summer sun which had the sky to itself, was still strong enough to warm the tidal sands. I stood on the cottage deck looking out at the calm shallow waters, watching two adolescent girls wade slowly outward while they shared their thoughts with one another.....a whole ocean of thoughts all to themselves. It was apparent to me, by the closeness of their side by side body language, by the pace of their wade that they had found their comfort zone again.


A framed photo of these two beautiful girls walking along the same beach when they were just toddlers sits lovingly on my daughter's shelf in her bedroom. Their backs to the rest of the world, they strolled together in a cocoon of trusting friendship like they were old friends. It has always been that way with these two. Though they have only ever lived in the same town for a year when they were only three years old inseparably attending day care together, the chemistry between them had never faltered until this year.


Normally once summer would arrive and the families would reunite, the two kindreds would gravitate to their cocoon within five minutes of seeing one another. But something altered or evolved........their interests seemed to gulf them.......their personalities didn't mesh as easily. One was choosing an academic road complete with cognitive pursuits, while the other was embracing a more esthetically social path. The academic scientist and the humanist.....

For the first time, it looked like they wouldn't find their common ground. Three days into the vacation time together and they had yet to really connect. But then, when it appeared like no one was paying attention, they found themselves on the beach alone wading into the calm waters side by side.

Natural, easy, like it was meant to be. Lucky they know at such a young age the gift of friendship comforted in history.


I quietly watched and hoped that this friendship would continue through their adolescent years and beyond. I believe it will.

5 comments:

Br David said...

That thought process is familiar, I recognise the growth from a small germ triggered by one of my senses; capturing my imagination and curiosity and where do you place the "full stop"? Hadn't really thought about the process before.
Thanks.

Awareness said...

Brother David. I'm glad to know I'm not alone with this process. Funny, since writing this post, and gathering several stories from the summer in my head I awoke with another thought to pursue.....summer vignettes may have to be interupted for now.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Ahhh, I love your beach pictures.

Gypsy said...

I had a best friend in High School and we were as close as sisters. We had so much in common and thought the same way about almost everything. 20 years after I last saw her we had evolved into two people who had no common ground whatsoever. It was as if our past friendship had never existed. Very sad.....

I hope these two girls manage to grow together instead of growing apart.

Awareness said...

Anon...thank you. i loved this one too, and was waiting to use it at the right time.

Gypsy. I had the same experience as you, with most of the friends I was so close to in high school. It is a sad feeling when all you have is the past in common. I really don't know if my daughter and her kindred will manage...it will happen if they can see the positives and specialness of eachother. We are good friends with this family, so we will always be in touch with them as well.