The Trunk Of Memories We All Have: A Moment With Bill Reflection
Sitting Among Souvenirs
Here is a fresh breeze to set on your sill as the dawn draws near. There is a feint glow in the east as you rub the sleep from your eyes and welcome the past, embracing it as an old lover, equal parts bite and gentle caress.
Climb up in the rafters and there is the old trunk, weather-worn, chipped, faded, the handle hanging loose by one strap and a prayer. Pull it down then, set it upon the floor and dust it off. There is a lifetime in that trunk, and memories are waiting to pass through your sorrow and your glee, and leave you introspective as you sit among your souvenirs.
Are you ready? Then open the lid and let’s take a peek inside as the sun rises over your personal canyon and the early morning fog lifts.
First you crawl, reaching ever higher, stretching your arms, testing wobbly legs, dependent on so many for the basic necessities of your life. Mommy and daddy, smiling down at you, holding you, caressing you, breathing into you the love of life, the power of love, and then thirst for learning and exploration.
You burp, you giggle, you poop. You smile, you cry, you laugh. You learn to use those appendages and then you propel across the carpet, ever-faster, testing your limits and always knowing that safety is but a whimper and an outstretched hand away.
You play with your toys, wipe dog slobber from your face, slobber on the dog, and toss your food to the far-reaches of your home. You investigate, you sleuth, you pry and you destroy, your clumsiness only outweighed by your quest for knowledge. Birds fascinate you, bugs fascinate you, cats fascinate you and snowflakes do as well, and you acknowledge it all with a gap-toothed smile and the first rudimentary language consisting of sounds rather than communicative words.
Mommy and daddy, some siblings and extended family, they are your universe, a safe cocoon of unbridled and unashamed love and devotion.
Souvenirs by Dan Fogelberg
The Crawling Becomes a Walk
You begin to expand that universe as your two legs propel you forward. You learn to run, to jump, to boldly leap forward, and in leaping there are falls and falls are, yes, painful, but bounce back you do to try once again. Your universe expands with friends, and school becomes a part of your reality, and knowledge multiplies and discussions about unlimited potential are heard and the secrets of happiness await you.
Movies and sports, pushing the limits, senses exploding in overload but what a joyous way to perish, the tastes, the sounds, the sights, textures, the smells, all there for you to record, all there for you to learn from. You toss your first ball, swim your first pool, run your first field and entertain millions of thoughts as your imagination soars and dreams seem limitless.
And Then It Is Time to Run
And run you do with arms pumping, legs churning, your hair flowing in the wind and your lungs billowing with life-giving air. You feel so alive, nothing can stop you, bring on the challenges but be careful what you wish for, for some of those challenges will leave you licking your wounds and contemplating the wisdom of temperance.
But temperance be damned, and consequences be damned, and let those chips fall where they will because you were born to run, baby, born to run, sometimes sprinting and sometimes a slow, leisurely jog; sometimes with a destination in mind and sometimes in random roaming in the gloaming; but run you do as the blood pumps and you lift your head and shout to the heavens “I’M ALIVE, I’M ALIVE, THANK GOD I’M ALIVE.”
My own thoughts on regret
Pick up Speed, Spread Your Wings, and Fly
And the heavens call back “YOU ARE ALIVE AND DON’T YOU DARE WASTE IT,” and you ponder that thought, for how could a runner, how could a seeker of knowledge, how could you…be wasting life? And that question stays with you and you seek counsel in others and you look near and far for an answer that was born in your blood from day one…..you were meant to fly!
You realize now that man was not meant to walk upright with two legs, but rather to pick up speed, run headlong towards that cliff, and at the very last moment bend the knees and propel yourself into the heavens and fly, baby, fly. Soar with the eagles and look down on the chains just broken and realize your true place in this universe.
Of course there are dangers and all manner of pain that could happen, but none of that is important as your grab hold of a thermal and streak ever higher, arching your back for more lift, shifting your hips for graceful turns, lifting your head to the sky and feeling the warmth of the sun and the realization that you have finally achieved what so few achieve….fulfillment.
And Then the Time Will Come
As it does for all us humans, the time will come when we must fold our wings and rely once again on our legs for propulsion, and the legs will grow weary, and we find comfort in laying down and gazing to the heavens we once conquered. And we close our eyes and see ourselves as we once were, vital, vibrant, filled with piss and vinegar, and we smile….and when we sleep we are young once again, running free in the fields of lavender, our arms outstretched, laughing wildly, knowing no limitations……
And a fresh breeze ruffles our hair and settles once more on that mantel of life, and the sun sets in the west and the old trunk is returned to the attic where it will gather dust among the other archives.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
My thanks to Dan Fogelberg for the inspiration