Every Wednesday my mother-in-law picks up Ben from school and brings him home for me. It’s early dismissal at the school and it clashes with naptime for John and my niece, so the Wednesday pickup is my mother-in-law’s weekly gift of sanity to me.
As I was standing on our front doorstep yesterday talking to her after Ben had run upstairs to watch George Shrinks with Cate, a little breath of wind came down the lane between the townhouses opposite and blew into our house. It had rained earlier in the day and the air was cool and fresh. It was cloudy overhead, but the kind of cloudy where you know that somewhere back there is sunshine, but it hasn’t yet broken through.
I sucked in that breath of wind and all of a sudden my sensory memory jolted awake. I was standing on the banks of Cultus Lake, I was waiting for the elementary school bus on a cool spring morning, walking to university on a crisp fall day.
I was able to take in two deep breaths of this memory-inducing wind, right in the middle of the conversation with my mother-in-law. I didn’t say anything about it to her, just kept it all to myself. And just like that, the wind was gone. The whole thing had taken about two seconds. But there it was, the wind connecting my present and my past, then vanishing off around the corner to shore up the wings of one of the pigeons that nest in the eaves of the townhouses.