If for nothing else, today is a perfect day to reflect. Today, as in this moment now and here with you, the sun is coming up and peaking through the window of my loft. The clinking from my radiator signifies that it is cold outside but it is warm in here.
For now, all is quiet. For now, the new year is only a baby and was just born a little more than eight hours ago. There are so many things I wish I could see and so many things I’d like to say. Perhaps this is why I value our time as much as I do. This is why you mean so much to me. I am fine here. I am comfortable. And you understand me. You get it. There is no need to pretend. There is no need to act or perform. It’s perfect.
It is crazy to think how many New Year’s Eves have gone by. But let me ask you something, where has the time gone? What have we learned? Where are the seashells I used to collect during my walks on the beach when I was a small boy? You’ve been to the beach with me before, right? I wonder about the indentations we leave behind on the sand. I wonder about the footprints in the dunes. I wonder if the beach has any memory or if the tides only come in to wash the shoreline and take the unwanted remnants to keep our secrets anonymous.
Age is funny. I suppose we come to a point in our life when we look around. We see where we’ve been and where we’ve gone. There are times when we lose ourselves to the comparison of others. There are times when we wonder about happiness and what this means. I have often wondered about the weight we carry. I’ve wondered what it feels like to lift something heavy and if to you, would this be heavy as well?
The world truly is a relative place. Big or small, short or thin, old or young, we see things the way we see things until time comes along, and eventually, we learn to see things differently.
I don’t know how old I was the first time I walked on the beach at Point Lookout on New Year’s morning. I have tiny clips of memory. They seem more like pictures, in which I can see me getting dressed as warmly as I could. I remember the sound of the truck. I remember being so small and sitting in a big seat. I couldn’t see above the dashboard. Then again, this was before the years of car seat laws. I was in the front seat with my Father. I was so happy to be with him. I was excited because I didn’t know where we were going. I’m not even sure that I knew the beach was something that still existed in the wintertime. What an amazing thing we discovered. I was at the age of wonder. I was young enough to believe in miracles and fantasy figures, like the tooth fairy and the cow that jumped over the moon.
I wore snow boots. I put on extra socks so that my feet wouldn’t get cold. I had a big, blue down coat and a hat that was knitted for me by my Grandmother. She lived in a magical place called Miami Beach, Florida. Only, I think we call this place South Beach now.
It is hard to remember any of the walks we took on the beach. I only have glimpses of memories that grow smaller as the years move on. I was young then. I was young, but, even then I was old enough to know that something about our walks would always need to be honored. No matter how old I was, even as a teen, I always made sure to stand at least once in The Old Man’s footprints so that I could follow in his footsteps someday.
Then again, maybe I have. Maybe the things I’ve felt or thought or feared are no different from my Father or from anyone else. I suppose we forget that our parents are only human. All of us are only human. Even heroes have fears and feelings. I think we forget this sometimes.
Memory is a strange but wonderful, sad, and sometimes painful thing. Our recollections can be heartwarming, which is what this is intended to be. However, there is a sad truth to the fact that time waits for no one. Time moves without mercy and without concern for us or the things we want.
This entire year has passed by me in a blur. I suppose we have all been too distracted by the news or the presidential election. I suppose we have been misled by inaccurate reports; and therefore, we are skeptical to believe anything. I suppose the threats we face are different now than ever before.
The one thing I miss most about those New Year’s walks on the beach at Point Lookout was they somehow absolved me from the sins of the year before. This was as though we were making confession and allowing the tide to come in and wash away our resentments. I say “We” in this case because between The Old Man and myself, I suppose we both knew there were wrongs on both sides. So thus, our New Year’s walks on the beach were seen as our notable moments of truce. I can’t say that everything was always forgiven but for the moment, there was peace. For the time being, there was nothing else but a Father and his son on the beach; to walk in the early morning hours on the first day of the New Year.
It’s been 33 years since our last walk.
So much has happened since then. So much time has passed. So many lives have come and gone and the beach, well, I know she is still there. I know the ocean is still breathing and yes, somewhere out there are my countless secrets and the whispers of my dreams which I have never shared with anyone (except for you).
I don’t know if I will get to where I want to be. Then again, I don’t know if where I want to be now will be the same as where I want to be this time next year. All I know is that for now, the music I’m playing is quiet. The sun is lifting higher in the sky. The day is young and so is the New Year.
I miss him. The Old Man, I mean.
I suppose if I could, I’d like to tell him a few things. I’d like to ask him a few questions. I’d like to know why our relationship went the way it did. Of course, if he were here, The Old Man would tell me, “You’ll understand when you get older.”
There is something to this. . .
There is something about the way life evolves and how our levels of awareness and focus on importance will change as we grow. It was told to me that dying is hardest on the living. It was told to me that once we pass, we let go of our earthly ideas. I was told that which is of flesh is of flesh and that which is of spirit is of spirit. Memory is memory and love is love.
Einstein said energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It only changes forms. You and I are energy. The Old Man and Mom and all of our loved ones are energy too. This means you and I will never die.
Therefore, if this is true then it is up to you and I to keep us. If it is up to us, then so be it. Let it be up to us to keep us alive and should you ever need me or miss me, just come here because I will always be here. No matter what.
There is no class on how to be the greatest person in the world. There is no such thing as perfection. Yet sometimes, we get lost in our imperfections. Sometimes, we forget that we all have flaws. Even parents have flaws. Even me. And even you.
But today is not about flaws. No, today is a day for peace. Today is a day to let bygones be bygones; to leave it in the wind and to let the outgoing tides come in to wash away our sins and take our secrets out to sea.
(So we can breathe.)
From the bottom of my heart and with a tear in my eye, I love you.
Happy New Year!
And . . .
I hope you know how much you mean to me.