Does where we come from say more about us than we think? Is our journey pre-determined in a way that eventually sees us do full circle? Not necessarily physically, but metaphorically?
The land of our childhood speaks a language so intrinsically intertwined in who we are that when we step foot there, words do not always suffice as a valid form of communication.
It’s in the air. The light. The scent. The people. The sounds. The memories triggered by senses, and cues, that our conscious mind forgot – long, long ago.
Little moments creep back in – little parts of that child and his, or her, wild and pure nature. Gently curious, daringly fearless, barefoot, scantily clad, beautifully unassuming. That child still speaks, quietly, if you dare to listen. That child still exists, in even the oldest man, or woman, if they dare to listen.
How much could that child could teach us today – if nurtured and heard? And would it be so unwise to throw ones shoes on the grass and run with that child, through dewy glades with toes numb and wet? Would we really catch a cold? And would it waste too much time to look up at the stars and ask ‘where does it begin… and where does it end?’…
Would that be crazy?
Would that child take our hand – the hand of that grown, sensible adult who bares responsibility with a solemnness that has bled dry the curiosity of youth, and deliver a logical answer like ‘don’t ask so many questions’…?
I think not.
I daresay that child would not judge. He, or she, would rather accept in innocence that we each are entitled to ask questions, whether a logical answer exists, or not.
Whenever I return to the town I grew up in, memories my mind forgot long ago creep back in. Colours bounce a little brighter as light darts in and out from behind clouds, marking the contrast of the highs and lows of life. Cherry blossoms line the streets in spring. Walking by, their sweetness seeps in fleetingly, stains the senses and lingers in the chilled air before fading again. Daffodils splash their yellow hue on the dreariest of grey days, filling cracks in the concrete with golden.
I didn’t think I’d miss it. But I do.
And perhaps as we grow older we find ourselves appreciating the things we used to despise. We see things we inadvertently missed. We afford ourselves a more patient approach, and smile at things that once irritated and ground against our core. When we are no longer desperate to escape, our vision is clearer and we can see the same old things we always saw, but with new eyes.
As people we have a tendency to take things for granted. Little things. Big things. I’m not sure if the best of both worlds really does exist, but it may. Perhaps it’s all in our perspective. And perhaps, if we are more open we are more easily pleased and can find the best of both worlds in a world we thought we already knew. Turns out we don’t know so much.
So it’s not just about being here now, but it’s also about honoring the past and not fearing it. It’s about accepting all the things we are not proud of: the awkwardness of growing up, the fumbling, the offending people, the embarrassment and hurt we caused ourselves and others. It’s about owning our history and holding no regrets for the path we’ve walked, however rocky at times. Knowing we’ve made mistakes (big ones) but being thankful for the opportunity they provided us with to grow and to learn. And we commit to growing and learning.
We can’t always move graciously. We must sometimes fall and scramble to regain ground. But on the other side the sun always shines again, usually when we stop trying to change what is. Stop talking, start listening – that kind of thing.
And maybe this is where our past, our present and our future converge – in a moment of complete acceptance, and trust in ourselves…
A moment where we can bravely face our fears and reassure the young, beautiful, unknowing child who brought us here… and forgive him, or her. Offer the confidence and truth we now hold. Offer the strength required to move forward in a world that is both beautiful, but ugly; strong, and fragile; young, yet old… and instill in that child the insight to accept, the ability to show compassion and the daringness to dream.