I've been told that I haven't been blogging enough lately. Which is true. It has been a while. Not for lack of thinking/experiencing lately, but I guess it has just sort of fallen to the wayside since I've been home. But no more.
I've been thinking about legacy lately. I was out on the town this weekend and was being properly introduced to someone who I sort of knew already, or at least, I knew who he was. He hadn't ever put my face to my name apparently and responded by saying "Oh, YOU are Bri. yeah, I know who you are...you're a legend!" Which made me laugh because he was just kind of being funny but also kind of commenting on my level of involvement at King's when I was there. I remember hearing past student's names thrown around in my years at King's simply because of all they were involved in, and it was strange to me to be on the other end of it. Anyway, I was out with my cousins who came up to visit for a few days, which is always a good time, but in particular, this was an important visit. Chris, the cousin closest to me in age, had returned from his tour in Afghanistan earlier this fall and this was the first time I had seen him since. He came over this afternoon for grilled cheese and to show me some of his photos before he went back home. Some of them made me in awe of the Afghani landscape, some of them made me tighten up inside to know that Chris had been through these dangerous places and some of them made me laugh because he had taken quite a lot of photos of himself when he was bored. He and some of the other guys would swap photos and I started to notice a real self portrait trend. Every once in a while Chris would come across a batch of photos with the same guys in them over and over again...they were always wanting their picture taken, he said. And I started thinking about that. About how, in the middle of a very real military mission, these guys were constantly jumping in on photo opportunities. To have a kind of concrete evidence of their existence, of their life there, of who they are. When I watch the news and hear of another Canadian casualty, its so often accompanied by a photo of them standing beside their army buddies in the desert or in front of their barracks with a gun slung over their shoulder or poking their head out from behind the gun on their tank. And I couldn't help but see this all in the photos that Chris had. I wondered if, when the photo was taken, the solider in it thought about whether or not it would accompany news of his death if he were hit with a rocket the next hour.
I am reading this very-well-timed-for-my-life-right-now book called Brida. There was a passage that I read today where a mother is telling her daughter a story from her past and concludes with, "Thank you for listening to me. It's the first time I've ever told anyone that story. I was always afraid I might die without having done so, and that it would be wiped forever from the face of the Earth. Now you will keep it for me."
So lately I've been thinking about legacy. About how story and image can pass along a history. I have always been somewhat aware of this, but I'm really starting to understand that it is a driving force in my life. To keep a history. My love for language and for art...it is leading up to something bigger in me, outside of me. I'm beginning to understand that history slips easily through a generation's fingers and the consequences are profound. So there are certain people who must, as part of who they are, carry the story. I think I'm one of those...maybe not in a universal, encompassing way...but I feel the weight of history pressing on me - the story of the family, the story of the land, the story of this time in this place. I feel the urgency of it upon me and I know it has chosen me to carry it. To keep it. To share it when the time comes.