There was a long stream that ran along a road with an old bridge that ran across and led to a street and into a little town. I know this place well. Or, at least I used to. This is somewhere I had seen as a young man. Or maybe I was still a kid. It depends on how I look at this.
I think about this place. Or to be clear, I dream of it.
I dream of the way the stream looked. It was somewhat wide and in an Upstate place in the mountain towns of New York City.
I am not withholding the name of the town for any specific reason. But instead, places like this only exist to me. This is more like a compartment in my memory. This is where I store pieces of redemption during intense or interesting times. Moreover, there is a bitter-sweet beauty to this place whereas, I can understand why its purity stings – almost like the time when we scraped our knees as kids and the Almighty Mother dabbed a gauze with something to disinfect it. The sting was quick and the burn was a flash and then Mother would say something like, “It has to hurt before it heals.”
It was here beneath the clear blue sky; beside tree covered mountains in the vast greenness of a clean area which would otherwise be untouched by anyone and unmolested by man or woman or people alike. It was here at a place that had not been forced to succumb to our commercialization of technology and it was here where I keep my stories in a pocket, folded neatly in my brain so that one day, I can reveal my plan and pull my trick.
If you ask me, the makers of technology know exactly what they are doing. There’s a reason why social media has taken its place on the center stage.
There’s a reason why social media reels have become a phenomenon. And, there’s a reason why innovators and the creators of this so-called technology forbid their own children from playing with their new technology.
I suppose the idea of a teen without Wi-Fi today is like a kid without cable television in my day. I suppose there was a time when all I needed was some music and perhaps I could survive in places like in the mountains with nothing else to do.
Places like the stream are memories of mine. This is from a time when I was stripped of all things technical; no television, no video games, no music. Of course, this was a time before cell phones. This was a time when VCR’s were part of our culture – and you would have to tape something if you wanted to watch it again. There was no on-demand. There was no way to fast-forward through commercials.
Maybe this was part of a punishment, which it was and yes, this was from a time when my regular freedoms were changed to a more structured environment. This is when I was in bed early and out of bed and out of a bunk even earlier.
Come to think of it . . .
There is a hill, which is not too far from this stream, which is also from the same time, This is also something that sticks out in my dreams because this place is closer to home so-to-speak.
I think of this place too, which is more of a piece of my heart than a memory. I dream of the hill and the view, which is mountainous and wide-spread, almost picture perfect for a movie. The field is a clearing which is where the grass grew before being cut down for hay bales and used as feed for the cows and horses at the farm nearby.
There was a little tree at the top of this hill in which I can say that my fantasy of this place is to bring all that I have done and all that I have created – almost as if I am going home to show my Mother what I have done with hopes that she can be proud (and rest peacefully).
This is a piece of me in which I can only share with you. I can show this to you, but you would have to promise to keep this sacred. I say this because in a way; this is my church. This is my steeple. This is my heart unfolded and me at my most vulnerable.
To me, this is like a Mecca; partly because this is where a piece of me died and partly because this is where a piece of me was reborn; partly because I buried some of my past here and partly because the entity of this place is like the Holy Father or the Almighty Mother. I say this because sitting here is equal to the cathartic feeling that one responds with as they sit in the back pew of a church, alone and filled with remorse – this place is a piece of my journey – this is a wellspring and a place of pain and of healing, of redemption and a place of comfort from the hand and the world around me.
There is no Wi-Fi here. There are no phones. There are no televisions or applications. Instead, this is a place without anything but the remnants of self. There is nothing but wind and the sky and the clean air which is untouched by people and our mass machines.
Maybe this was useless at the time. Maybe I was too crazy to realize how valuable this place would be. Or, maybe I wanted to go back to my old comforts when I was here.
Maybe I wanted to blaze for a while. Know what I mean? Maybe I wanted to smoke a little here or get high and go back to extending my middle finger to the world.
Or, maybe the magic behind this place was that, somehow, I was transformed.
I saw this hill (and the stream as well) and the farm in all four seasons. I saw these places beneath blue skies and gray. I saw this through snow and rain and, of course, I watched the sky from places like this. At the time; I never knew the sky could be so blue. I never knew something so plan could be so perfectly beautiful.
One day, I had the unfortunate task to drive up north and attend a wake for an old friend’s son. I saw some old friends and old faces. These were people who knew me from this same time. I drove to the farm where I lived. I drove over the bridge where the stream was. I drove down the long stretch of Upstate, country road and off into the dirt road to a place which was my home for 11 months.
It’s a big camp now – or something like that. The barn is gone and it would appear as if the land has had a major facelift. But the hill was still unblemished.
My Mecca. My wellspring.
My secret burial ground and my place of rebirth.
I didn’t take a picture. I didn’t take a selfie nor did I degrade this with anything that was technology based. No, I suppose for the moment, I enjoyed the naturalness of life without the influence of anything electronic. And I have to say that this was pretty goddamn beautiful.
Maybe you can come with me next time. I can show you my church.
I don’t mind sharing it. But, it’s like I said, this place is sacred to me. So, it might not be as beautiful to you.
But to me, this place means everything.
There’s no sin here. All can be erased and absolved.
And just like that . . .
You can start all over again
(If you want to).