What do they say - youth is wasted on the young? From the
standpoint of actually appreciating youth, maybe that's true of the young, but
I don't think this applies when it comes to actually enjoying youth.
I was tucking my 9-year-old in the other night. The next day
was Friday and he spent a minute telling me how wonderful the next day was
going to be because he didn't have school and his friend was going to come over
and they were going to download mods for a favorite game.
His dark room was the perfect canvas for what I saw in my
mind as he spoke. I could only see the outline of him in the darkness, safe within
his covers, but to my mind his eyes shined with the thrill of what would be. He
could see the day like it was written in neon above him in the air. Fun was not
just a concept to consider but a living creature of color floating above him, probably
smelling of watermelon candy.
I think this will be a memory that sticks with me.
Such a vicarious joy that at the same time engendered a
beautiful melancholy. Listening to him, I knew I would never be that excited to
play with a friend or take a day off of work. I am an adult, and the
complexities of my adult world are like weeds and thickets barring me from such
My life is not joyless. Far from it. But a simple
appreciation of friends and mods is
like a ship that has already passed in the night. The ship was there once, a
tangible vessel that could be seen and touched, but it disappeared over the
horizon a long time ago. There isn't even a trail to follow if I wanted to
reclaim what has fled.
But there with my son, it was like a window to my own past.
Which makes me question the veracity of the saying above. Youth
is not wasted on the young, nor is it lost to the old.
Here's my effort at trying to coin a better phrase: the
young bathe in youth; the old dry them off and sense the damp.
I just learned today that Ruth Stone died last November. She was a poet.
I love her description of how it felt when a poem came to
her. She said it was like a thunderous train of air barreling down over the
landscape, and she had to drop whatever she was doing and run for paper and pencil
to be ready when the poem arrived. If she was too slow, the poem would pass
through her and continue on, bound for the next stop, the next poet ready with
pen in hand.
This is certainly an abridgment of her description, but it
was this quote I was looking for when I found that she had passed on. Ms. Stone
had a wonderful way of looking at the world, always from a new angle. Trite
retreads of old and forgettable themes were not what she was about.
A friend of mine did
something that made me laugh this morning.
At work today we received
a gift as part of an employee meeting. This gift was in a small box. Instead of
doing what had the greatest chance of yielding a firm answer, namely, opening
the box, I wondered out loud what we were receiving.
My friend plucked the box
from my hand, placed it against his forehead and predicted, correctly, that
the box contained a pedometer. His correct answer was aided by the fact that he
had already opened his box.
What occurred to me was
that there is a whole generation of people who would be oblivious to the
cultural reference my friend made. The name Johnny Carson is likely one most
twenty-something's have heard of, but it has been two decades since Carson
hosted The Tonight Show. So, recognize the name Carson, sure, but Carnac the
Magnificent? Don’t think so.