souls and fireworks

485px-2006_Fireworks_15-1When the war ended, my parents rented three rooms in what must have been the servants quarters of a crumbling but still impressive building.

Riverside House stood, in all it’s pebble-dashed and whitewashed glory, near the boathouse on the banks of the River Wear in Durham. The three small rooms had no running water and no electricity, but my parents filled the house with so much love that I was proud to be the only child at school who had gas lighting and who could, just like the cowboys, dip his cup into the large urn of water that stood by the kitchen sink. 

My evenings were spent in the amber glow of the two gas mantles, that hung on the wall above our fireplace.  My mother would read to me , as we sat toasting our feet on the hearth of the open coal fire in the enchanted living-room, with the night-creatures of my young imagination, dancing and flickering in the hot coals by our feet.

On stormy nights, my parents would turn off the gas and as the mantles dimmed through red to darkness, we would sit and watch the forked lightening rip and tear at the sky, as the grove of trees behind the house howled and roared at the disturbing wind.

In the summer, my parents would take me to watch the firework display that ended the Durham Regatta. I enjoyed “Boat Race Day” with it’s  contests between the blazer-clad teams of posh-voiced university students, but my anticipation and excitement was reserved for the firework display that ended the festival. The show would begin with WhizzBangs and Catherine Wheels, but the best moment of the display was always saved for the finale, when a mass of rockets would curve upward and then burst like gigantic flowers across the night sky.

When it was her turn to go, my mother’s soul opened and wrapped me in a cloud of everything she had been, before she flashed into the darkness and dissolved into the stars.  

When the firework display had ended, we would carefully pick our way back along the darkening river banks toward home, with the distant rumble in our ears, whispering the promise of another show before bed-time.

No trace remains of the old house by the river banks. The tall trees have long gone and the wind laments, as it moans and swirls through the concrete pillars and the empty vaults of the multi-storey car park that now covers the suffocating earth.

Sometimes when I am quiet and open, she returns with the house and the trees and we sit together in the warm glow, just as we did so many years ago.

~

(firework illustration – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:2006_Fireworks_15.JPG)

yes…it’s Wikimedia

Durham Regatta  Google Images

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~ by soulmerlin on April 10, 2008.

13 Responses to “souls and fireworks”

  1. Oh, I love it! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post. I love your new ‘look’ here. Bravo!

  2. WOW!!! I am stunned and don’t know where to start. Your writing is romantic and filled with something so intangible I can’t find the right word. All I can think of is breathless. I loved this whole piece.

    This part about your mom is stunning: “When it was her turn to go, my mother’s soul opened and wrapped me in a cloud of everything she had been, before she flashed into the darkness and dissolved into the stars. ”

    It doesn’t get any better than that!

    I also loved: “…The tall trees have long gone and the wind laments, as it moans and swirls through the concrete pillars and the empty vaults of the multi-storey car park that now covers the suffocating earth.”

    AND: “Sometimes when I am quiet and open, she returns with the house and the trees and we sit together in the warm glow, just as we did so many years ago.”

    Your writing is stellar, poetic, intimate and heartfelt. I truly hope you continue to share it. It encourages my own true voice. Thank you SO much.

  3. Dear Robin and Tamera (i’ve got your name spelled right this time)

    I think you are both just too kind – but you’re comments touched me
    xh

  4. Not too kind, Henry. Truthful. This is absolutely my kind of ‘reading’. You describe in such a way that I feel as though I was there. You are a creator of atmospheres, and very few are. You were very lucky to have such loving parents as a child. I would love it if you wrote more posts about growing up.

  5. Ok, I’ll do that. 🙂

  6. One of the most beautiful things I have read. It’s interesting. Most of the time I don’t like it when music comes on without my triggering it. But when yours came on it was perfect for what I was reading. Perfect. And then the comments on your mother. Wow! ( Not a very sophisticated response) but Wow. Like Tamera says I was sitting there with you. To get a hint of your mother like this is such a gift. There is just so much bullshit and meaningless drivel out there and to be touched with this memory and insight is just wonderful. Thank you.
    scott@mystresscoach.com

  7. Lovely way to sublime your memories, thank you for sharing them with us, you are a great writer and the post is just really touching I like when I read something and then I feel inside a familiar feeling, those feeling that is not so easy we share with everyone, great Post. 🙂

  8. H this is truly stunning. your style is so distinct and heartfelt. You find the most romantic and vivid way of sharing your memories. I agree with Tamera, More childhood memories please it is just fascinating. As ever, thank you for sharing.
    Ant.xx

  9. Hi Ant ~ what a really nice surprise to switch on my laptop and see your comment.

    It really does make it seem worthwhile.

    love

    h.

  10. I’ve discovered yet another room today. The others have said it all. Thank you for sharing such special memories.

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