Friday, October 24, 2014

October in Chicago

I’m in Chicago again. The last time I was here the trees were full of leaves and the days were still long. The funny thing was the weather didn’t go with the time of year. Who could imagine needing a jacket during the day in August in August?

Now I look out the window at the tree stripped down to a skeleton. Naked, nude, not even a single leaf hanging on. I can see the birds landing on the branches. In the spring when the buds were just bursting, the tree was full of fragile gold finches. Now there are just hardy looking sparrows. Across the street the tree still has some dry golden leaves, but they look like they are going to crumble before they fall.

It’s noisy here. The sounds seem to amplify as they come up to the third floor. The rumble of the recycling truck and the clash of glass bottles rolling around as they make a pick up.

I catch a whiff of the scent of dry leaves coming in from outside and it awakens memories from long ago. Being here is like being inside a scrapbook of my life from fourteen on. Everywhere I look there is something that takes me back to another time. It is like flipping through my past and then I see a moment in my mind’s eye a moment in clear detail.

Looking at the window in my old bedroom brings me back to the night I got home from Israel. I had gone as a volunteer to work on a kibbutz just after the six day war. My time there was fraught with danger, but I’d made it home filled with stories, but pretty much unscathed.

That night I awoke and didn’t know where I was and had a dark feeling that I was trapped in some kind of detention camp and would never get back. Then the light outside my window came into focus and I saw that I was in my own bed. A huge wave of relief washed over me as I realized I was home, safe and sound.

And instead of being something that happened a lot of years ago, it feels as fresh as yesterday.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds as though you have quite a history, Betty, in Chicago and otherwise! I've enjoyed visiting Chicago over the past few years but since my family there has moved I doubt I'll get back again for a while.

Planner said...

It's wonderful that you are still enjoying your childhood home. Instant memories!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I hope your family moved closer.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, I consider myself very lucky to be able to come here and go back in time.