A home can take on many forms depending on who you talk to. For the single individual it could simply be the house in which your parents reside, the place you go for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner. For a select a few maybe home is still located on that patch-up land grab where you grew up playing made-up games with the neighborhood kids, where your favorite climbing tree still seats itself in its old age, a place filled with secret hideouts, and personal pathways you can still walk as an adult retracing your childhood footprints. It’s a cherished venue where fantastic dreams were created, where eyes stared up from the grass and imagined characters out of the fluffy white clouds of summer. The nostalgic smell of spring revival in the air when the earth breathed new life, the warm breeze of a summer night when windows were left open, and the leaf piles you were eager to rake up and bury yourself in during the fall. It seems a static setting where you revel with loved ones over dreams realized and cry over the dramas and tragedies of your life and your life together with family. Home embodies all and is summed up and defined by the love within it.
I am not one of the select few that still gets to go to the home I grew up in as a boy. As much as I wish it were a truth in my life, those moments of bliss I just spoke of are now just watery images plotted out in my memory like a connect-the-dots game that draws a picture of what I consider to be a truly enchanted paradise, and one that I hope awaits me on the other side of this life. I feel a bit like Peter Pan did when Robin Williams played his famous role in the movie Hook. Battered by the life he exchanged for Never Never Land and then returning years later trying to figure out how to reclaim the boyhood spirit he once had. He happily got the chance to find that side of himself again, but the rest of us sadly do not and more appropriately cannot.
A few months back I visited my childhood utopia and it was anything but. Not a shred of semblance to the fondness of which my mind still holds it to. The storybook of my life has it’s pages inscribed with wondrous color and iconic images when I re-imagine this heaven, and yet the chapters still being written can only denote its bleakness and the shameful disdain I feel for what my once youthful neighborhood has transformed into. Why do we expect the things we remember and hold on to the most to stay the same? Nothing else does. Life it seems is an ocean of rising and falling tides and uninterrupted ebbs and flows; surely there is nothing in life of true authenticity without spending a little time on the glassy waters of the doldrums. An undulating spectrum of reflections mirrored under the sky that is our lives, so to assess the subtle ripples we’ve caused and how far and to whom the waves of our actions have stretched. An accustomed recurrence I must admit, and one that will endure the permanence of time until God sees fit to introduce the next cycle when, with his breath, he blows new life into sullied sails and cuts a path across the solitary expanse. And the obliging tide will bring forth a new and unrecognizable place that shall bear the fragile responsibility of being called home once again.
The strange draw of that pitter-patter of tiny feet will again rile up a yearning of child-like thinking when this unrecognizable place becomes the Eden of our own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and the likes of cousins, aunts and uncles, new moms and dads, and so it is the revolution and evolution of human life itself. Images and thoughts to be delicately and unknowingly saddled into the depths of mind, to be recalled and drafted forward on occasions when those who look back on this once upon a time wonderland will notice so distinctly the unstoppable locomotion of change that adheres to it. And so the beginnings of a past is born anew and to be looked upon by the aging youth currently swimming the waters of their Never Lands; looking backward with soft eyes and beseech life itself to return to its blissful ignorance and the confounding awe of an unaccustomed life.
It occurs to me just now (and will bring a quick close to this post) that memories like that of childhood are so revered because with every new day brings with it the endless possibilities of experiencing something absolutely unfamiliar to the unfettered young mind that tries to identify with it. These are the memories secretly being placed in their initial and eternal locations from which all other associations will attach themselves. It is a place where my mind will continue to go as long as the sun continues to rise and light my life with the dependable warmth of peace. I am forever grounded in wanderlust. May I ride these tides for all my life.