Art & Design
The other day I took a trip to my old childhood home via Google maps and was drawn in to haunt my old stomping grounds all over town - looking up my old apartments, coaxing the addresses of good friends (who have not been living at these homes for ages) from my memory, doing a drive-by at my old high school, and checking on how much and how little things have changed.
Yes, there are new buildings and some different store fronts. And one thing that absolutely amazes me is the thick coverage of tall trees and vegetation that has taken hold all over; not to mention the realization of how narrow and tiny the streets are compared to my arrested recollection, frozen in the mind's eye of a much smaller person that I was then (both literally and figuratively speaking) - and in direct contrast to the vast expanses of my chosen home in the US.
The fields by the abandoned train tracks where my childhood friends and I got caught playing in the wheat fields, the crude cement creek bed where we made dams ( into which I slipped and fell butt first in midwinter one time and then had to slouch home in dripping jeans with skin stinging), the little terrain of rolling hills created of trash, overgrowth and left-over construction material where we climbed trees, played stunt-man and fell into the stinging nettles, the wild fruit trees and berry bushes (we surprised our moms one year with around 15 pounds or more in elderberries each - we ate elderberry jam for way over a year) - all this has long been gentrified into "proper" parks and apartment buildings. While all the progress is not unpleasant visually and functionally, it still makes me feel like 'Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away'.
The slough of mixed feelings resulting from this virtual trip was quite surprising to me: It is a cocktail of nostalgia, alienation, regret and relief for having travelled so far from home, memories of long-burried memories, the realization that my "home" will and cannot ever be the same place that I remember, guilt for expecting it to just stay still and wait for my return, awkwardness at imagining myself in the cozy but restraining confines of old structures - but a terrible yearning for the cultural vibrancy of European city life and to reconnect with friends who have moved on to new adventures themselves. And I remember the intensity of smells of my first entirely autonomously bought and brewed cup of coffee, the whiff of my mothers pound cake with chocolate icing, the garishly bright orange of our bathroom tiles, the sight of my first bigger oil painting drying precariously balanced on my rocking chair…. the flood of images, aromas, and sensations keeps flooding in, bitter sweet, precious, violently personal.
At the same time I cannot help but chuckle since Google maps has, unintentionally, provided me with a hilarious glimpse of home: They caught my dad in the front yard washing his car, disheveled hair, old white tank top and all…. CJ
Art in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is an inspiring experience, both artistically and spiritually.