9.09.2010

Thinking Back...




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…

19 comments:

karey m. said...

love it when your posts sound exactly like our real life conversations.

without the swears and emoticons, that is.

xoxo today.

Joslyn said...

i do love me some swear words and smiley faces ;-)

rikshaw design said...

ohh goodness thats that yumm mexican rest i ate at...ohh that queso..

tammy said...

truly a refreshing read. good to know that melancholy moods sneak up on others out there, too, and not just me. thanks for sharing your nostalgic moment.

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

Its funny how memories can be conjured up so strongly by certain things.... Abby takes such beautiful photos.

Kim said...

Those first feew years out of college are an incredibly unique window of time - your entire life and all its possibilities and uncertainties and hopes stand before you. I say roll in it!!! I do that sometimes, too...

Rachel said...

Fall sometimes triggers nostalgia for me. It's such a time of change and movement and I think it reminds me of all the autumns that have come before.

Not that it really feels like fall here yet. We're wavering between mild summer and very early spring (foggy mornings included).

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

That same sensation overtook seeing some photographs on someone's blog a couple of weeks ago.

But I wrote about it earlier this summer: http://www.valleyadvocate.com/blogs/home.cfm?aid=11933

Such a gift, memory, even when bittersweet.

Pretty Mommy said...

Funny - I was going to email you when I saw these photos on Abby...oh Austin, it just gets under your skin doesn't it ;) and I love a good round of nostalgia!

rachel | buttons magee said...

really, such a lovely post.

krista said...

i'm always surprised by the melancholy fingerprints of nostalgia. most of the time, when i'm in the present, i'm looking ahead and thinking the best is yet to come. perhaps the melancholy comes from surrendering the fantasy of "happily ever after" and realizing that real life is sometimes so much more and so much less. (this has been in my head as of late...)
i have never even been to austin and these photos make me nostalgic. that's a gift right there. to make me feel something for somewhere i've never been, yes?

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i love abby's work so much and about nostalgia... i live it everyday. i love the feeling of happy nostalgia. warm and fuzzy. especially when fall arrives, not sure why. memories.

phthalo-blue said...

What a beautiful post. I think that, even if we are surprised at our lives as they are, and happy in them, there is always a sadness at what we left behind when we grew up and moved away, got married, bought houses ... you know, all the responsible adult things. Nostalgia is sometimes a little gift that brings it all back.

Crystal said...

Yay, that's my hood, too! We live maybe two blocks from Nau's. And Fresh Plus has scanners now! It's crazy-sophisticated. ;)

Let us know if you head this way and need some company for a chocolate soda at Nau's. We'll just walk on over. :)

Ana Degenaar said...

I am nostalgic already... Thanks for sharing this with us!

Torrie said...

Sadly (but truly) NOTHING gets "too therapy-speak" for me... the way, my brain is wired, I guess.

But thank you for asking:).

~Beautifully written.

Simply Mel said...

Where would we be without nostalgia? I wouldn't want to know....

One of your TOP 5 posts!

Jaclyn said...

Just found your blog and what a perfect post. Someone mentioned to me that Starbucks just release their pumpkin spice latte and I almost was in tears all the nostalgic memories it brought back of when I used to live in the states. Being in Sydney now is like a whole different plan, however, it was great to think back and reflect.

abby try again said...

Thank you for this post :)
I feel so touched that my photos triggered these memories for you.
One thing I constantly think about when I shoot is how to frame a subject in a way that will allow the observer to see/feel what they'd like. I try to "crop out" any of the unnecessary to leave only a feeling of the place...glad they resonated with you :)