it's snowing here in north carolina. by snowing i mean a nasty slush of rain/snow/sleet, just enough to deem the roads undriveable, and warrant a two-hour delay from work. yesterday, the air around my town was getting ready for this. this beautiful, once-or-twice a year treat of long mornings spent sleeping under quilts, snowman-building in the afternoon sun, and sipping hot coffee in front of the television.
the air dipped into freezing yesterday. my car struggled to start in this newfound chill. my toes were ice blocks as soon as i stepped onto the wooden floorboards beneath my bed. when i left the house yesterday morning, i remembered leaving my favorite jacket at mama and dad's. my cream white pea coat with oversized buttons. it sat warm and unused, a mere few miles away.
so i reached for another coat, then quickly put it back and went for a different one. i couldn't take this one. my vintage, waffle-texture long coat with a single gold clasp at the neck. i didn't leave it behind because of the weather. a little rain wouldn't hurt it. i didn't leave it because of its weight. it's plenty heavy enough to shield me from the winds that sang through my trees.
honestly, i left it behind because i really don't like it anymore. it's not that soft. there's a slight yellow circle-shaped stain on the back. the clasp is hard to manage and tends to come undone easily.
but i'd never give it away. i can't even put it in my shop. because every time i look at it, i remember.
dipping my toes in the pacific ocean for the first time this past autumn. standing in my bare feet in the hazy, gray glow that permeated cannon beach, oregon. i swear, the scene was almost european, with birds decorating the sand and water the color of slate. it was gorgeous.
as we hastily pulled into our motel, i grabbed that coat out of the trunk and ran, hand in hand, with robert. literally chasing the sunset, we hurried to the beach, over cobblestone streets and a cove of sea brush, finally arriving to this:
i was wearing the coat then, and so i will hold onto it now. on it is the sea spray and memories of my trip, and perhaps a few crumbs from the boysenberry scone i devoured moments before that picture of me was taken.
so i'll keep it in my closet. for that reason alone.
like the curious george boxer shorts i got in the 7th grade, on our family's only trip to disneyworld. they have a flap in the front and i'm certain they are for boys, but i've held onto them. because when i look at the image of george, wearing his spacesuit and floating around on the fabric, i remember that vacation. the heat that just sat on top of the atmosphere and almost suffocated us. riding the rock n' roller coaster with my mama, my hips hurting the entire rest of the trip after that initial jolt. my dad's sweet laugh and my sister's fright and nerves as we approached each ride.
isn't it funny how we associate so many memories with clothes? i think that's why i love vintage so much, because you can almost feel the decades in the fibers. and i'm so happy and thankful for those precious souls who donate their clothes to thrift stores, so i can happily snatch them up and make my own memories in them.
so the coat sits in the closet.
smashed between my jeans and winter sweaters. collecting dust.
maybe one day i can pass it down to my daughter, and tell her, over a steaming pot of coffee, how her mama and daddy interlocked fingers and ran into the ocean. how we chased the sun and raced with nature together. i hope she'll be able to feel the love, my heart, on the sleeves.
because it's there. and just because i don't wear it anymore doesn't mean it's gone. just like when i close my eyes, i can still see oregon.
because memories embed themselves in the most unexpected of places. in the chipped red paint of my desk, the one i painted outside one warm spring evening. in the pupils of pablo's eyes. and in the threads of clothing.
yes, especially in the threads of clothing.