Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One Child's Tribute


I just learned this morning that the amazing writer Ray Bradbury passed away. Ray Bradbury! My heart is sick....

One of my earliest memories is of being read to by my young mother. She'd checked a book out from the Webster County Library (amazing place full of shadows and the smell of paper and with ladders for reaching your books down from tall shelves). The book was full of short stories, and the one she read to me made the hair stand up on my neck. I connected with those words in a way that my young self couldn't describe.

I can still recall being curled up on the green sectional sofa, gazing out the living room window at Mr. Gordon's morning-glory-covered porch across the street, my bare legs in their summer shorts feeling itchy from the rough upholstery, my ears listening to words that transported me. I never forgot the story and rediscovered it again as an adult, hidden perfectly in the chapters of Dandelion Wine. Reading it once more instantly transported me back to my childhood.

Time travel. So appropriate.... And how lucky a kid was I, anyway?, having a mother who read Ray Bradbury to me!?

So many writers have shaped my life, but Mr. Bradbury holds a special place of honor. I think it's because he alone articulated what I can recall feeling in my childhood heart. Things I saw and experienced but had no words for.

It's been a million years since I was a kid. My bookshelves are now teeming with collections of his stories, things I reread often. And when I do, I am instantly connected to the young self that I once was (and still am inside), the deep thinker that felt the passage of Time and the sadness and sweet beauty of every autumn, the child that feared death and wondered about the future....

Such a kindred spirit!

Goodbye, Mr. Bradbury.... Your words will live on and move generations forever. They are carved on my heart and I will never forget you.

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