[My friend Mira and her kite – somewhere in the sky out of sight – at Cape May Point]
It really has been a good summer. Starting off on May 22nd when I set out for a two week trip to Israel to reconnect with family and old friends I had not seen for three years. There, I was embraced by a loving family as we celebrated my 59th birthday. I felt comfortable and happy to give and receive familial love, and came back refreshed and refueled to face my new position at work.
Most of the summer was spent part-time working and partly taking care of body and soul with good food, exercise and one or two visits with friends close by.
It concluded with a trip to Cape May Point and Buffalo, reconnecting once again with old friends from my Buffalo era.
A summer of re-connections and rejuvenation. A summer of concluding medical problems that had lingered for almost eight months prior.
No time period in my life is ever free of self-reflection. And this summer had its moments of reflection, revelation, and even a little insight. Just recently I have been wondering why when people ask me about Zimbabwe I am at a loss for words. Of course I care about the horrific human rights issues, just as I would about any nation's dictator abusing his people. However, I do not feel ownership that I think others expect me to feel about the country where I was born, and grew into a young woman of nineteen before emigrating to Israel. Now, ask me about Israel (where I spent the following nineteen years of my life), or America, where I have lived for the past 20 years, and as level headed or objective as I might want to be, I am often emotional and passionate in a way that shows I feel a deep sense of belonging to both of those countries. Indeed, I often refer to either of them as "home."
I started to think back to my childhood and adolescent years, and, quite frankly, have been having a difficult time coming up with pleasurable memories. Mostly I cannot remember much at all. And if I do, the memories are dark in color and nature. In fact, it almost feels as if the days were always gray and dark. Rationally I know and can even remember hot sunny days that built up to heavy summer thunder and lightening storms. But the atmosphere of my early childhood memories are dark. In fact, I cannot remember a time that I ever felt I wanted to return to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe even for a visit. In 1981 I took my seven year old son with me from Israel to Bulawayo – the town where I was born – to spend the last four days of my father's life with him as he lay dying in the general hospital. I felt like a foreigner in a strange land and wandered around my old "home"town as if in a daze.
I guess I was just not a very happy child. I remember being lonely and afraid so much of the time. These days I envy my siblings, relatives, or old friends when they reminisce fondly about the Africa of their childhoods, and wish I could feel as happily attached, as they seem to be, to those bygone formative years or to Zimbabwe in general.
Wondering and self reflection never ends. There is always something new that rises up out of the depth of my consciousness that makes way for yet another realization, revelation, or a deeper understanding of why I feel the way I feel, or how I came to be me.
Summer is winding down. I can feel it in the cool crisp mornings hinting at autumn that waits in the wings. I can see it as acorns from the huge old oak tree fall about our path and flower beds. Squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying about quicker and more energetically than usual. And, of course, I know it because the new semester is starting up for a new academic year.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Both sides now