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Sunrise, Sunset: A Moment with Bill Reflection
Sing It with Me
Swiftly flow the days….”
A child is trapped in this aging body.
Memories are trapped within the child.
There are days those memories quietly lap against the shoreline of my mind, caressing the sands, providing a gentle backdrop of relaxing noise as I go about the business of living.
And there are days when those waves crash upon the beach, scouring, upsetting, changing the topography, and washing away tranquility.
Such is life.
There is no altering of the inevitable. We are left, then, to learn from it all.
The Early Days
Being held in the bosom of safety; coddled, adored, and loved. The world is a mystery. The world is exhilarating, frightening, challenging, and confusing. We categorize events, words, actions, filing them away for future use, calling upon them with each stumble, each bumble, each wayward turn on the path.
We are, hopefully, protected during those early days. True, our freedom is limited, our actions controlled, but despite the soft shackles there is a sense of freedom, of unlimited possibilities, and wonderment. We caress the soft face of our mother, knowing that therein love resides. We grasp the hard hand of our father, knowing that therein wisdom resides. We celebrate the embraces and yet long for the escape, for the world is calling us and we must answer that call.
I miss it all.
Rules are made, rules are broken, for how else can we learn if not by stretching those bonds to their breaking point? We know we shouldn’t but we do. We know we should but we don’t. “Red is gray and yellow white, and we decide which is right, and which is an illusion,” and sometimes, in the deciding, we learn lessons harder than forged steel, and the price is pain….and the price is joy.
Be home by dinner….don’t get those new clothes dirty….do your chores or there’ll be hell to pay….mind your manners and don’t sass your elders….study hard and make a name for yourself….children should be seen and not heard….my goodness gracious, so many silly little rules, choking the life out of us, leaving us staggering under the weight of it all, forcing, yes, forcing us to further strain on those bonds, weakening their tensile strength, hoping they will break soon, but still, terrified that they will.
I miss it all.
The First Vestiges of Freedom
Hop in that chopped-down ’64 Chevy and head for the beach, my buddies and me, a cooler in the backseat right next to the cool ones, Bobby and Frank, Denny and James, me driving with the wind in our hair and piss and vinegar flowing through our veins. KJR Radio is spinning the hits, we’re all in rock n roll heaven, and man alive I feel alive. Could life get any better? Young guns, gunnin’ young, and outrunning life itself.
Wash and wax that beauty and don’t forget the chrome. See the lovelies walking the beach with their one-piece bathing suits, revealing so little, suggesting so much, demanding our attention and our drool, and is there anything as forlorn as a drooling fool? Peacocks prancing, showing off the plumage, spouting nonsense, a ritual as old as man and woman, all part of the process.
A&W afterwards, nothing beats a root beer float on a hot Saturday afternoon, again with the plumage, again with the nonsense, again with the whoops and hollers, marking our territory with a lift of the leg and a display of false confidence.
I miss it all.
Not All Memories Are Good
The cocoon has a rip, and from that rip flows life forms, a grandmother here, an uncle there, so important in our upbringing and now pushing up daisies and tulips, dust to dust, joy to tears, memories growing as life, and death, march to diametrically opposed drummers.
And then a parent, and the foundation cracks, and off to college you go with a heavy heart and a head full of questions, and who the hell wrote that into the script? And damn, now, wait a minute, my friends are dying in a place I’ve never heard from, and the lovely little movie of contentment is suddenly showing horror movie tendencies, and ain’t that the shits?
Leave it to Beaver and body bags from rice fields; Miss America Pageants and assassinations; welcome to the good old US of A, where you can buy a snow cone and suck on it while watching the riots down the street, and black is black, and white is white, and ne’er the two shall mix.
I miss it all.
Wisdom with Age
Don’t you believe it, boys and girls. Wisdom comes from pain. Watch how that cat prances on the hot tin roof. There’s a lesson learned that won’t soon be forgotten, and just like that quick-footed feline, this soldier of life learns only when the feet are burning and the brain is registering the sensory overload.
Marriage equals pain and heartache. Over-indulgence equals lost in the wilderness. Lack of self-love equals just plain lost. Step right this way, folks, and buy a ticket to the fun house. Rack up those possessions, the newest of that, the biggest of those, charge it all and borrow from Pete to pay Paul….but…the Piper will have his day, and that day will require show and tell, and suddenly the plumage ain’t nearly as bright or impressive, and where the hell is John Wayne, and why isn’t he riding in on his steed to save the day?
I miss it all.
Happy Trails, to You
Until we meet again. Sing it Roy and Dale, even though fairy tales have no place in reality, but here’s the funny thing about it all…here’s the gut-buster that will leave you holding your side and begging for mercy….we still believe in them. We still believe in the happy endings, where boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl ride off into the sunset with big old grins on their faces.
Boy meets girl or boy meets boy, or maybe girl meets girl, and they ride off into the sunset with prejudice and hatred dogging their steps, blazing a new trail, a new reality, and pain is the price for new lessons learned, but those lessons must be learned and must be accepted if we are to have any hope at all as a species.
And so we learn. We may fight it…we may strain against those self-imposed bonds…but we will learn one damned way or another. Seven-point-two billion learners, paving the way, skipping across that hot tin roof, shrieking and howling as they go, pushing the limits, breaking the bonds that tie, and hopefully, learning from each other.
Swiftly flow the days.
Today those memories caress my mind in a loving embrace. The plumage is fading, the balky insecurities a thing of the past, peace overrides fear, and all because I had to pay my dues in my own way, in my own fashion, and in my own time.
I miss it all, I love it all….this is my life and isn’t it a miracle?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)