All photos above taken by Abby via her genius blog Abby Try Again...
Nostalgia is a funny thing.
For me at least, it never strikes when I expect it to. I’m rarely overcome with memories on milestone birthdays, my high school reunion didn’t faze me, heck, I wasn’t even mildly shaken by the fact that I now have a daughter who is seven-years-old.
No it’s always something small and seemingly innocuous that brings on a wave of nostalgia (and longing and what-ifs) so strong I find myself walking around unmoored for a few days.
In this case, it was Abby’s lovely and poignant photographs of the Clarksville neighborhood in Austin -- specifically the ones above of Nau’s and Fresh Plus. This was my neighborhood when I lived in Austin a little over a decade ago; I had just met Bryan, and a typical day might have involved leisurely ambling over to Nau’s for grilled cheese sandwiches, hitting a garage sale, and puttering around at Sled’s Nursery (maybe toting home a small plant if I was feeling especially flush). I was just finishing college and working as a grocery checker at Fresh Plus, entering pound after pound of coffee beans and endless tubs of homemade hummus into the register by hand (no scanners natch) and wondering if I would ever have enough money to actually buy the groceries they sold there.
And while I had no idea what my future life would look like, I thought (for sure) it would somehow always be conducted there…in Austin, wrapped up in those same places (and I somehow knew I’d be with Bryan… that was always the constant). Instead we ended up in a city I never thought I’d live in (but have grown to love deeply for wholly unexpected reasons), working in jobs we never thought we’d have (but appreciate and enjoy immensely, again for surprising reasons), with these two amazing daughters that I couldn’t have even fathomed in my wildest dreams. Our life is altogether different than I thought it would be. Better but different.
Despite the fact that Bryan, the girlies and I were in Austin just a few months ago visiting all our old haunts, there was something about Abby’s photos that transported me to that time and place in a way that made me catch my breath… Maybe it was the description of her discovery of the neighborhood, the feeling that her love affair with this city that is so special and beloved to me is just beginning while mine is decidedly in the past.
Or maybe it was (tamped down into my subconscious… is this getting too “therapy-speak” for you?) Audrey turning seven and my upcoming milestone wedding anniversary (Bryan and I have been married for 10 years next month) that had the nostalgia bubbling just below the surface… Maybe Abby’s photos were just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed me squarely into nostalgia-land.
Either way I’m here, reveling in it and a bit surprise by the melancholy of it all…