I remember as a wee lad I would build forts and houses in the great outdoors of our back yard. I constructed them of big boxes at first. “Big tended to be relative to my size, of course.
I quickly found the durability of such abodes to be somewhat suspect. I graduated to wood by using an old wooden gate over the corner of our chain link fence and wedged into the base of our largest Lombardi Poplar. This arrangement worked well as I had an upstairs deck on top of the gate and a downstairs below.
I even came across some old carpeting for the downstairs and built walls attached to the fence out of boxes. I carpeted the top of the gate as well so as to keep in heat in the colder months as this all happened in late autumn in West Virginia.
I’ll never forget running up to the railroad tracks and collecting coal that had fallen off passing trains. We lived four houses down from the tracks. The intention was to burn the coal for heat. After all, I’d watched my father cook hamburgers using charcoal. Coal is coal, right?
The lack of a heat source did not serve as my only disappointment. No matter how many matches I used, I simply could not get that coal to heat up. Rain became the larger nemesis.
One gloomy day, I spent quite a while shoring up all the leaks and drips in my little mansion. The effort felt gallant, yet nothing I did corrected the construction issues. The sound of the raindrops, incessant and unforgiving, stuck with me my entire life. Even now, over fifty years later, I can listen to the rain and feel the hopelessness.
This night, as rain cascades from the sky, off the roof, and splashes into puddles, I feel the forlorn truth of temporal life. Strange that I felt this so young. I felt the impermanence of everything. I felt the truth that none of us would get out alive.
Of course, I did not know much of death and the end of things. For much of my life I believed many things would always be there. Like pay phones. Bottle caps on soft drinks. Forget 8-tracks, I thought cassettes would be around forever as well as albums and even CD’s. And whatever happened to canned blueberries in the grocery stores?
But I digress. So many things I cherished and loved turned out to be temporary. My little mansions, my collectables, my relationships. The very lives of people I loved. Not simply stolen by death, but some whose memories got ravaged by age.
I thought Bradbury and Asimov and Heinlein would always chuck out an endless supply of heart-thrilling scifi. I thought Monty Python would be there forever to make me laugh and smile as well as Benny Hill. I thought Sophia Loren would remain a picturesque goddess forever. I thought my youth would never die.
I once even believed I would find the answers. The answers to the big questions. Little did I realize the big questions would not only never be answered, for the most part, I never asked the biggest ones until age taught me how. Now I wonder at how I could ever have thought that I knew anything of life.
Rolling thunder. Lightning flashes. Rain. My youth. My Spirit. My life. Linking what remains of my future to a more realistic life view not only becomes important but necessary. Positive thought processes and a retraining of my mind does not portend to be a simple undertaking. et, the only way to move forward and achieve my goals is to solve the riddle of negativity which at times prevents me from stepping into my truth and my best destiny.
I should be sleeping. My midnight muse keeps tugging at my heart. Time for a poem before sleep…
Those Were the Days
Autumn leaves piled high for jumping
Chasing. Running. Hearts a-pumping.
At no time would my world change
Yet now life appears so very strange.
People aren’t as good as they seem
Existence lost its youthful sheen
Dreams no longer feel just out of hand
Not from the view, not where I stand.
Yet good things come to those who strive
A sense of purpose, staying alive
Age defines only the mindset we allow
No retreat in life, only here and now.
Tomorrow’s numbers has shrunk one more day
I call my dreams to lock in and stay
Though altered a bit from their once lofty perch
I continue to strive, forsake not the search.
For we’re all living the truths we concede
But I pursue the one’s I believe
I stroll my path a single man, alone
Not my original vision, not the tone.
I’ll continue my trek through the older of days
I’ll shrug of indifference, apathy, dismay
My words will carry me home to my world
Whence legacy and memory will then be unfurled.
One day I’ll know. I’ll see. I’ll discern.
For now let’s simply walk and enjoy our lives
Yes, let’s do this, you, dear reader and I.