Thursday, September 11, 2014

Annie Annie Over

I'm six years old. A few of my cousins and neighbor kids are scattered on the side of the barn that I'm on. There are patches of grass that go all the way up to my knees and other patches that are so worn down, only a few pieces of dead, dry grass are left on top of faded children's shoe-prints. The rotting wood on the barn turns a deep scarlet as the sun goes down. I'm smelling earth, the damp woods surrounding us, and the funny scent that kids have when they are having too much fun. 

My cousins and their friends are a few years older than me. They clear my pigtails by a foot or two. I never catch the muddy, rubber-bouncy ball. I never try to. I'm not out here to be a hero. I'm here to feel the rush of the action. Everyone becomes antsy before we hear the high-pitched scream from the other side of the barn. 

"Annie Anniiee OOoooooovvveeeerr!"

The oldest boy, the one from across the street who likes to come over to grandma's house without ringing the doorbell, who just walks in like he owns the place, runs over to the far right side. Silly boy. Doesn't he know that there is no chance in Hell the ball is going to fly that far?

I start to notice that everyone scatters to the far sides of the barn. A few kids have disappeared all together. Pretty soon it is just me left, me and this giant, red orb looming just over the roof, then arching down and growing larger and larger.

They are screaming at me. I can't understand a word. The adrenaline pumps through my blood, making the ringing in my ears as loud as a the front row of a rock concert. I don't have time to inch my way to the right or left to properly align myself to maybe catch the thing. 

For a moment, I am frozen in fear. Time is suspended, just like in a freak car accident that will happen to me a decade later. My friend will drive into an intersection obliviously. She will be lost in the adolescent mystery of a shirtless football team returning from afternoon practice. Her curly hair will slosh back and forth, as if she is swimming, when her bumper collides into an older lady's clunker. We will spin at light speed, but to me, it will feel as slow as circling around with that dreamy,waltzing instructor I will meet. He will hold onto the small of my back, grab the palm of my hand, and twirl me around, slowly, slowly. 

I spin my head to the right and then to the left. I see wide eyes on me. I see arms waving in the air. I want to scream or run or laugh maybe, but all I can do is fall to my knees and hold my arms out at my waste, my palms face upward, like I'm preparing to accept a gift from an ancient goddess. 

I close my eyes. I feel something crush my chest. The air is knocked out of me. My arms reflexively wrap around the object. I hug it tight to my chest and squeeze my eyes shut. 

I open one eye slowly and notice a few fireflies circling a short distance away. Annie. Annie. It's over. 

I struggle to stand up, my tiny legs shaking. I feel hollow and warm. Everyone is smiling, laughing, and shouting my name. That was and will forever be…

my moment. 

Something about the smell of the trees and the flowers on my hike today in L.A. brought me back to that childhood memory.  Say what you will about the streets smelling like pee in big cities. The places where I go in this big city smell wonderful. 

My days have been feeling a little off lately, even though so many exciting things are happening with music and jewelry. (I'm going to be playing guitar for Kate Nash on Sunday! I just released the "Such Great Heights ring in women's sizes yesterday!)

After some reflection on my mountain hike, I realized, in my pursuit to act like a more responsible grown-up, I have been neglecting activities that used to bring me so much joy as a child. I use to spend so much time outside, catching lizards, and collecting rocks, playing silly and terrifying games with the neighbor kids. I've given up my precious time spent outside in the sunshine and cozy evenings reading fiction for late night debacles in bars and too many episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and South Park. (O.K. so I guess those activities aren't really "responsible grown up" activities)

So, last night, after spending the day in the sunshine with close friends, I made myself a cup of camomile tea and opened up to the first chapter of a book of short stories called, "The Glimmer Train Stories". I melted into the imaginary world of author, Laura Van Den Berg, as she wrote sentences that shook me such as "My breath made white ghosts in the air" and "Back then I thought I would never grow tired of looking at the sky". How did I forget how much I loved reading fiction?!

While we are so busy working in our jobs, on projects, and on creative pursuits, it's easy to forget to make sure we are re-connecting with ourselves, spending time each day with simple activities that make us happy. And don't give me that, "But it's not productive" or "I don't have time!" excuse. You don't have time to be happy?

Trust me, if you spend a little time doing things that make you happy and bring you joy, you will be MORE productive with whatever it is that is so important and keeping you so busy. Thinking back to what brought you joy as a child will be a big clue to an activity that you may have forgotten about. Now, what was it? What was it that stirred your heart back then?

Oh, and about my Annie Annie Over memory, I learned years later, my grandmother had bribed those kids to let me catch the ball in return for a piece of her famous, raspberry pie. Damn that pie was good.

Honestly, Meg 

1 comment:

  1. As the great poker player Doyle Brunson says: "We don't quit playing because we get older... We get older because we quit playing"!!!

    Truer words never spoken:)