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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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Nothing is new for long (06/12/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

Each subsequent snippet of time is a place you've never been. The more exuberantly and intensely one lives - the more freely positive energy flows, both outward and inward. One must be wary not to short-circuit.

Our camper has finally shrugged off the frills of newness. I consider returning, after many years, to one's antiquated home place, all the more precious for the brittle linoleum, outdated wallpaper, the faded picture of the antelope on a hill of snow, and the worn wood floor, sagging in the wake of footsteps of habit.

The wayward son takes off his dress shoes and socks in this easy life-as-usual atmosphere and walks a dirt path along a heady field of clover. As twilight vibrates with lively crickets, he remembers how a full moon was reflected from the family picture above the roll-top desk in his upstairs bedroom. There he retires for the night, the most restful sleep he's had in years.

You still expect to walk out your front door to the sight of grass piercing through long crisscrossing cracks in the driveway concrete. That's right! A new driveway was poured two years ago. You begin to notice things as though it were the first sighting. The tarred crack on the street in front of our Lewiston home has leered at me for years...Alfred Hitchcock's puffy profile.

I am satisfied with myself. I did something this Saturday afternoon that I have deeply missed doing because of a worn out, arthritic back. (Just because something is impossible doesn't mean you shouldn't try.) Pat and I commemorated our 39th wedding anniversary this weekend at our Chetek camper home.

We gave one another an armful of flowers...pansies, peonies, and coleus, purple, scarlet, and yellow. I filled two deck planters and a metal coffee pot with the blooming beauties. Pat arranged my project on our picnic table, where I sunk my hands into the essence of rich soil.

I took my sweet time, of which there is an abundance up north, where lakes meander, slapping against crumbling shores and reaching roots. Grandfather trees lean with slack over the pulsing body that sustains them.

I loosened the compact chunks holding the flowers prisoner, weighing their roots in confining plastic cartons. The coolly moist dirt made way for each plant as I packed the earth tight around them, committing each bloom to a throbbing womb. With good fortune we'll enjoy their delicate charm for months.

As the flowers live-out their brief life's span, sojourning campers will sense the closing of another season at Chetek, of a new autumn which will quietly deem each of us another year older.

New clothes, certain brand names, a specific style, making a decisive statement - that's how teenage trends dictate to and intimidate our youth. I recall the bulky cardboard boxes, postmarked Spokane, Washington. Our late cousin Joanne Schultz sewed beautifully! She sent off hand-me-downs to sis Mary and me, while we rock and rolled through high school.

We were delighted! The nifty clothes were new to us! Poodle skirts, sundresses, even underclothes, and Barbie doll wardrobes; she was a master! I've missed Jo so much, since cancer took her off to new life. She's in a better place, likely sewing angel wings for all new inductees.

Then there were the Pat Boone, white buck shoes I just had to have as I entered ninth grade. A pinch for Mom, she broke down and let me have a pair. That turned out to be a case where I wished something to be old before its time.

They made my large feet look like two blocks of concrete. Their pink soles flashed like finish line flags as we did the peppermint twist in the gym every noon hour. I was hot! But I was so relieved when the eighth bottle of white shoe polish was depleted and I could retire those disgusting white bucks!

Nothing is new for long...but when I get my set of custom-made wings one day, I'll be good to go. Happy trails! 


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