I want to go somewhere now. Somewhere different or should I say, I want to take you someplace different. There’s no draw or public knowledge of these places.
I want to take you to a small place in a big world which is really the trick.
I want to find a place with a great bowl of soup or a special item on the menu that no one else knows about, except for the locals, of course.
I want to be somewhere at a place where people smile and say hello for no other reason than to be kind.
Maybe this calls for a road trip.
Or maybe this calls for a flight across the country.
Or maybe we could go down south and find a place where they make the best lemonade.
Or, maybe not.
I have this small pond in mind. This is up in the country, Upstate and set in between the mountains, high up and far away from the places of bright lights and loud people.
This is a real place yet this is a place that I have not seen in a very long time, at least not since I was young.
The pond has changed and so has the world around it. But that’s okay.
The place I want to take you to is the place which only I have seen. And after this, now you’ve seen this place too which means no one else knows about this place – except for us.
I have this place in my mind which I think about from time to time.
I think about the summer scene and the way life is calm – at least for the moment.
I think about the way sunset looks and how the fireflies come around at dusk and beam their little tails like tiny green lanterns.
I think about a moment of peace with no stress, no worries, no anxiety or anticipation that something can or will go wrong.
It’s quiet here.
I want to go here, just for a little while. At sunset, after a long day in the fields by the farm.
This is not to say that I’m a country boy. This is not to say that my love for the city has changed hands or that my need for the beaches and the ocean has been replaced by sweeping pastures and rolling hills with cow fields and red barns, standing peacefully, within the fields on the side of long country roads with no one else around.
I love both scenes, the beach and the country.
I love them equally and for different reasons.
My history between either scene has different connections. Both have separate connections with memories from my past.
The ocean relates to different moments of freedom. This is where I was born, so-to-speak. And the sea, the rockpiles at the inlet where the commercial boats leave to head offshore; this has different reveries with different levels of emotion and history to me.
The fields are equally as connective to memories of growth and rebirth, which is more fitting. The word rebirth fits perfectly. I connect the country-style pond to a moment of rebirth as well as a moment of peace amongst the hardship of sadder times.
Both scenes are healing to me.
Both have deeper meanings and both are places that I dream about from time to time.
I want to take you here, to either place or to both places.
Maybe this calls for two different road trips.
I want to show you where I stood as a little boy, small as ever and young as ever too.
I want to show you what the beach looked like when it was seasonally vacant or otherwise abandoned for the winter.
I want to show you how cold this was. At the same time, I want to show you how unbelievably warm this memory is to me.
I want you to see The Old Man ahead of me. He is in the distance. He is walking along in the sand.
I am behind him, running to keep up with his walking strides because remember, my legs are short because I am small. He is fully grown and a man and me, I was trying to learn to keep up and learn what this means.
I want you to see me place my foot in The Old Man’s footprints.
(To follow in his footsteps, understand?)
I want to take you here so you can see the times when I am older.
There’s no one around anymore. Just me . . . and now you.
The beach is equally empty. The scene is equally cold yet there is a warmth that swells from inside of me.
There’s a sense of spiritual understanding; as if I were to be home after being away for so long.
She remembers me too – the beach that is, the ocean and the spirit of the sea.
The sands absorb my footsteps to cushion the imprints; to take away the pain, to settle the unsettled flow of emotion, and to ease me into the sight of calm waves that roll into a quiet shore.
There’s no one else around and, for me, it is time to tell my secrets and give confession to the tides.
To be rid of them.
To feel free.
On the other hand, I want to take you to the pond. I want you to see what I see. I want you to recognize the fields and the mountains around us. No one’s around. The sun is warm and on its way down.
The chattering of cicadas in the summertime and a soft breeze is enough to somehow ignite the senses; as if to give us permission to settle down, or to sit back, and to watch the sky become golden just before it goes away.
I have been here before. But never alone, at least not in the literal sense.
I have dreamed of this place because this is a place from my past.
To be clear, nothing around this pond looks the way it did back then.
Nothing at all. . .
Either way, this is more of a spiritual place.
This is a place of growth. This is a place where I traded my old self and allowed me to become someone different.
This is where several of my old demons went to die.
This is where my longhair rebellions and the scars, the sneaky knives, the preemptive retaliations and the postured nonsense of image was laid to rest. I let go of myself here.
I let the sky take over. I let the winds sweep me away.
I allowed myself to exhale so that, finally, I could breathe in . . .
and be replenished.
I have gone through so many changes since my youth.
Then again, we all have.
I have come to a place in life where I realize that we have to question ourselves.
We have to question the lessons we’ve learned.
We have to question our old teachers too because above all, even teachers can be wrong.
No one is so infallible or so righteous.
No one knows everything. To the people who seem to know everything, my question for them is what the hell do they really know?
What do I know?
I know that there are places in my life where I have been.
There are things which I have seen and people I have met who’ve made an impression on me and my life.
I need to keep this with me.
However, I am still in search of the perfect place.
I want to find the perfect town. I want to build a collection of perfect memories because there are times when life is tough.
Life can cause us to hit the “Oh shit!” button.
Life happens at a constant rate.
Nothing stops. The world doesn’t stop.
One thing’s for sure, the news of bad things will never go away.
Violence is up. Crime is up.
School shootings are happening (This just in.)
War is everywhere on the news.
Overdoses and suicides, alcohol related deaths, and the list can go on but still, all of this is happening
all around us.
Corruption is not new. Thievery will always be a thing.
Let’s face it, not everyone has a kind word to say.
People can and will suck on a daily basis.
This is true and I see no reason to deny this.
It’s easy to be mad. It’s easy to lose patience with ourselves.
It’s definitely easy to lose patience with the boxhead idiots around us.
It’s easy for us to lose our cool which is why I need to take you on this trip with me.
This is why I need places like the beach and the memories of the pond.
I need this and the recollections of healing which took place at these very same locations.
I want you to see these places.
Just so you can have them with me.
Just in case you need to hit the “Oh shit!” button.
I want you to have this because life can be tilted. For the record, people like us need someplace to heal or become better.
When I was small, The Old Man would take me to the beach on New Year’s morning.
I miss this the most.
It was cold. The walk was long.
But all was worth it because after, The Old Man took me out for a cup of hot cocoa.
That’d be nice too, right?
We could find a place to eat after a trip like this.
Depending upon the season, we could find a great bowl of soup to warm the soul.
Or if it’s summertime, we find a place and eat a piece of pie.
Either way, we can sit in a little spot that no one else knows about – except for the locals, of course.
And just like that . . . .
(at least for the moment).