The longer I sat up , the better I felt,sort of better. My eyes slammed shut . I didn’t want to know where I was . My niece was known to send email out of the blue. Sometimes, I could lean in and see rather well, what she was talking or doing and where. I can remember she and my sister talking at the kitchen table, all curious and listening to others seated around,
The white painted metal daisies chandelier which was wound around a wrought iron stick hanging from the round curled piece mounted from the ceiling. Each light was fashioned to look like a candle perched on a branch. The whole piece poised over the chalky white pedestal table. The family had long discussions, disputes and work sessions around the round ” fiberglass” top . We couldn’t even agree on what material made the table. It always seemed rather magical to me. The wide spun white top perched upon a slender stalk with its wide, spread-out bottom. A carefully balanced table which seemed to float in the kitchen space, not supported by the daisy branches or attached to any object . The white and blue space hosted many a project, many a homework bouts and many, many times of unifying communications (without electronics ,without machines). Certainly there were always lots of elbows and books perched on the table edges or tucked in between whatever dishes and food items. It wasn’t the center of the house, but it was the unified place, where we could have space to spread out and work or to have room to breathe when unity seem very far away from the conflicting arguments poised in the air.
I wondered what had whisked me away to my parents’ kitchen. Hardly a comforting place since I spent some of the most miserable times glued to the blue fiberglass pedestal chair. Frustrating projects, impossible paperwork and a large amount of time sitting were large parts of my life. Mostly it was being confined to listening to just about any topic that I “needed to learn or hear about.” The topics were sometimes over my head ( which would mean being sent to the reading room to find a series of books so that I would not be uneducated )
Conversant in many areas of the body of knowledge was expected in my family. ” Ignorance is no excuse for X,Y Z semicolon” was the refrain that my parents would state if anyone at the table didn’t understand what was going on.
There isn’t a specified dogma. Inquiry was the road to holding your own in the world . If you want to succeed (my mother’s word),or survive! (my father’s term) , you had to have a wide ocean of knowledge and the skills required to sail out of the harbor . We were to have the means to conduct ourselves with respect, character, manners( my mother!) and a sense of responsibility to the family, our community, our profession and ourselves (my father!) . No excuses!! Also, a wide amount of curiosity and tolerance was steeped into our psyches, it was just there in everything that my father and my mother worked at during their waking hours. My Dad was a researcher at the University and my mother was an inquisitive, realistic, no-nonsense perfectionist. She had been a nurse before she married my Dad. She brought the tenacity and detail-orientation to running a house, running charities or taking care of us kids. She also had a warm smile to go along with her warm and caring heart.
I turned over and put my back to the couch. I didn’t want to move . I found myself wondering what my mother would do in this situation. She loved to dream of traveling to exotic destinations. My brother would say, quietly to us that he felt sorry for the natives when my parents arrived. The town would know our parents had arrived as sure as a cat 2 hurricane. I wonder what the list of Scientific hypotheses and guidance my father would design to study the environment and conditions I was in. That would probably be the way he approached this place ,the sensible means to work on a solution to the mystery. My father loved mysteries especially natural, real ones.
I sat up and leaned against the back of the couch which seemed to be my escape safety place. It felt familiar and real and not any confusion connected to it. I spent a lot of time on the long, cushioned modern component sofa in the family den, reading on a Sunday afternoon, playing with the dog or drawing an illustration from some discussion I had with my Dad. My drawings were not nearly as impressive or as rich in detail as my Dad and my sister paintings. I did try and I enjoyed the challenge.
I stretched and opened my eyes to a garden of ivy vines and flowers around the patio . Pulling up the yard quilt, I reached for the pad I had the night before. On it, I had written” where to start?” it reminded me of a song my sister and I loved. ” Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” The only problem with that was the start was all I had. The query was where to set off from there. The facts I had to examine did not make any tangible sense in the rationality of facts. A sense of confusion and lack of rationality seemed to be the reality , the established structure of the realm .
Query, how does one proceed in a framework that is counter to every principle that I knew.?