Here are things that I miss – in no particular order –
I miss Morgantown in the fall. Football. Beer. Hum. Cold wind. Runny nose. The 80’s. The future was way out there. The now was going by so fast. Joan Didion says that there comes a time that you realize that it all mattered – “that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.” I know that now with as much certainty as I can muster. Missing Morgantown reminds me of of my evasions and my procrastinations, my mistakes, everything I missed.
I miss the smell of wood smoke and coal dust. I miss the rhythm of coal mines that ran on three shifts and how the whole world revolved around it. The minor 3 o’clock traffic jams when the shift changes. The men who looked like they’d been dipped in oil.
I miss the church bells that played hymns beginning every day at 6 p.m. – all summer long. And Ricky, who played the trumpet on his aunt’s porch every evening after dinner as the whole town listened.
I miss my grandma’s back yard. Full of flowers and rhubarb – the clothesline – the coal house – and all the ingredients for making mud.
I miss the radiators in my grandmother’s house and how it smelled of ginseng drying and waiting to be sold in the fall.
I miss the shocking pink of redbuds in the spring. I miss the thrill of a snow day and a deep snow.
I miss the sound of my Beans snoring at night. I miss Lola’s pink ears and Finn’s fat little feet. I kissed them both a hundred times a day and a hundred times at the end. It was not enough.
The word hiraeth means homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the grief, the yearning for the past. Hireath has more than four letters. Miss has exactly four.
And I miss. I miss so much. I miss it all. I miss the things that I can’t ever have again. And I know that I missed it then, too. I didn’t know how much I’d miss it. I didn’t know how much I was missing. I didn’t know that I should hold on stronger. I didn’t hold on as strongly as I could have if only I had known. But the irony is that you can’t ever know.
I am grateful that I can remember all that I’ve had and all that I miss. I am grateful to have had it at all – no matter how fleeting it may all seem now.
What do you miss?