We don’t like to remember that life was simpler. That there was a time when fear was a byproduct of a scary story. Or worse, a spider! When we would wake up and the nearest complicated thought might have been, “Captain Crunch or Apple Jacks?” A hard-working day meant we had to dig a ditch with our Tonka truck or make a long haul with our teddy bears loaded up in the Radio Flyer.
Then the fateful day came. “Get up. It’s time for the first day of school!” With a bounce in our step, we bounded out the door to new possibilities. And for the few years that followed, the world was filled with mystery as we sat and listened to the ones who stood before us with the keys to the universe. We held fast to our faith in humanity, not even realizing then that there was ever reason to doubt.
Then something changed. The world’s color became muted a little. The sunlight that twinkled between the branches of maple trees as we walked, and the cool breeze of air that cooled our brows – once taken for granted – became more like harsh rays that we squinted away from, and a crisp chill which shuddered down our spines. We started our days by strapping on lead-soled shoes and trekking to the overcrowded stables which would hold us for eight hours only to be left in catacombs of droning headmasters.
The world was now a highway. Paved before us, governed by a speed limit, cut through the landscape of life by those we never met. We now only spent our time following those before us. Not trusting in the hope of possibility, but burring our faith in survival so long as we followed the path.
This is the way were raised. It’s no wonder we find ourselves squealing and edging to suckle at the teat of distraction and simple diversion. Instant gratifications are all we seek to ease the suffering. To medicate the symptoms we are now burdened with.
And then a break.
For me, it was Some Boy. Not his birth necessarily, but something that came a few months later. In his eyes, I could see the reflection of wonder I once lost. It radiated like Uranium 235 held in my hands. It penetrated me, even to the now-darkened corners of my mind. My connection with him set me free. I could smell the grass again. Wind was so much more complex than hot and cold. I was inspired again, and my metal-bound feet carried me like the hooves of spring deer.
Now, I find myself at work imagining taking Chelsea and the boys on adventures. Exploring the trails and going off the highway. Everything is new again. Even though I already know what I’m looking at, it’s as though I’m seeing it through new eyes. The vibrance has been restored. I know that a lot of what I want to show them is premature for their age, but that’s not what it’s about. I want to fuel their young imaginations with lively experience. I want to teach them that the world is grand and expansive, and can stay that way throughout their lives.
This is why it’s important to get away. To break free and every once and a while, set your sight on the horizon. When you finally find a place to stop…stop. Look around you and picture yourself where you stand from another perspective. Even a highway rest-stop can give you a valuable moment of peace in a life riddled with doubt.
Fill your lungs and take in the scent of life being lived. Open your eyes and bathe in the light that guides the prismatic diversity of people around you.
Unguard your ears to the cacophony of noise you once expected, and listen to the music found in the little things.