|Saucer dish, 8 inches, ca. 1820.|
A few weeks ago, my cousin, Molly Arost Staub (google her name and you'll see she has written for a lot of newspapers), had an article published in the Forward about her family farm retreat in New Jersey in the 1940s and 50s. The farm was an integral part of my childhood too, and the story renewed memories that I thought I had forgotten.
I went to the farm every summer for about ten years. I was a part of a large and loving family filled with aunts, uncles, cousins and beloved grandparents. I got to pick blueberries in the nearby woods, swim in a lake, and toast marshmallows at a campfire. If it sounds idyllic, it was. There were even a few dogs who roamed freely with me and my cousins. I miss the farm, my innocent childhood, and the people who were in it.
One of my favorite poems is Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill." I have always loved it, but it is more meaningful to me now. Especially the line in the last stanza; "And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land."
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
I know I sound maudlin or sad, but I am not. I appreciate my life now as much as I did as a child. I only wish I had appreciated the people in my childhood more. When I was young, I didn't realize that life and time were so ephemeral.