Monday, November 22, 2010

Googling the past

I just took a google street view of where I grew up. It's kind of odd I hadn't thought of doing this before - I guess I didn't expect that google had sent a car to such an out of the way little place. But they had.

Now I haven't even visited that patch of the world for 17 years. Yet I have no problems closing my eyes and picturing the whole 11 mile journey along the road to town, where I went to school. I could probably close my eyes and picture the whole 26 mile journey the bus took along narrow dirt roads to get me to and from school, but that would take tooooooo long. (It took an hour and a half each way.)

There on my computer screen was the road I walked to the double bridges to catch the school bus. Of course it's half the width I remember it. There was the creek I'd swim in. The bend where the platypus lived. The hills I galloped my horse on. The bush I rode to, then nestled in, being soothed by nature. The memories flooded in. An echidna curled into a spikey ball, my horse smelling it, puzzled. My dog being run over as it traversed the road that intersected our farm. The hill I enjoyed the view of distant mountains from. The oppressive humid heat of summer. The dam that froze over in winter. The snakes killed on the walk home from school. Memories jostled for room at every swing of the google camera.

The house.My gut knotted at the sight and I hovered only momentarily, returning to panning across farming acres. I've always escaped the house, and the ugliness that had a life in there, by taking to the paddocks and the bushland. I'd actually forgotten I did that. It was an unexpected memory and not a welcome one. At first I was sorry I'd dragged it to the surface. A day or two has passed now, and I'm ok with it. I long ago accepted that my parents were not ideal, and also that having them as parents has made me compassionate to others in a way I would not otherwise be.

Still. I hope my children don't feel that if they google our house 30 years from now.

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