The Things That Built Me

Let's make it count. Let's push into the current - let's climb over the gnarled stumps of broken down dreams. Let's touch the fragmented mercy of people who have loved and conquered loneliness. Let's leap over our own stubbornness. Let's choose different and live free.

Those wide open spaces of our souls, pulsing with blue skies and clean air. Remember when we were young and nothing held us back? Remember how we ran, we played, we dreamt? Remember the sounds of summer; the taste of warm, humid nights? Remember fireflies and forts in the woods? Remember kickball and the swing set? Remember what childhood felt like?

Fireworks over the river, mosquitos swarming over puddles, beer bottles left under the wrap around porch, throwing rocks into the street, riding our bikes across the field to the pool, wildflowers and sunshine.

I taught you to ride your bike and the world opened up wide. We explored everything, we lived fantastic, imagined lives, we never slowed down.

Because we were living.

And we were broken, even then. We were children. We were young and growing. I was both your protector and the instigator. I fought for you. I fought with you. But we were us. We were full of silly secrets. We were penguin walks down the stairs. We were Sunday morning cartoons. We were rescuers of dead birds. We were Indians in the woods. We were just we.

I would go back there for a day. I would run my fingers over that splintered porch. I would curl up in that small room by the attic stairs. I would fling open those old windows and hang out into the street. I would sit on the roof and picture the fourth of July. I would lay in the field, staring at the clouds and remembering what it felt like to be eight. I would climb over fallen trees and sit under the fort. I would lean into the swing set, palms callused from hanging on those bars. I would sit, still and quiet, on the big porch. Just for a day, soaking up who I was, before everything changed.

If, someday, I lose my ability to remember, I hope I keep this one. I hope I always remember the feel, the taste, the smell of being a child. If I lose it, I lose me. I lose us.