“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”
Remember when you were young, standing tall, walking among the world as a giant?
We all do.
We all walked among one another as giants, once. But this was very long ago.
Long ago when life was simple.
I used to think life was a simple pleasure. Once, it was. Long ago I was that boy down the street, rubbernecking while I passed by your house on my bike. I’d free spin my pedals, rotate them in reverse then skid to a stop.
What was I stopping for?
Back then the world was wide open. It was all new, and I saw it all with new eyes.
I stopped for everything I didn’t know about; a strange bird with pretty colors, a flower with a bee on it. Something floating in the ditch. A rock with a smooth texture. It didn’t matter. I stopped.
In that sphere of wonder I traveled without regard to worry or want. I explored fully. I said hello to people and smiled at strangers. I knew my neighbors, and they knew me. My heart pumped love and my mind soaked in the world like a sponge, every last drop of it.
That day was so long ago. Yet, I can still smell those wildflowers along the roadside.
I can still hear the buzzing of the bees atop fields of dandelion. I can still feel the road tearing the skin off my knee when I hit a slick spot. And I can still taste the salt of the sweat dripping from my crown.
My eyes are still squinted from looking afar under the bright 85′ sun, a moment frozen in time—far away now from those warm days of wonder.
And so, they’ll always be.
Though the days might’ve been long ago, the memory has been burned into my life.
I am the rock of my own experience, self-carved yet uncarved still, an artist’s block in wait holding fast to its faults.
But what is there to wait for?
I suppose I’ve always been a square peg in a round world. A bit of an odd duck at times, and a bit awkward at others, but I’ve never forgotten those warm summers from my childhood—those comfortable days where I sat quietly in a pecan grove looking over my schoolyard; cracking the thin shells between my palms, digging the ripened meat free with a yellow-handled pocket knife I’d stolen from my father’s toolbox.
But, it was worth it.
Those days resurface often. And I revisit them with pleasure. For this was the last time I was truly free. It was then when I was still soft, touching the world gently, becoming its companion, leaning against its delicate skin and warming myself by its side.
But as all things must transform, what was soft must also harden. And the world has it’s way of hardening us all.
It seeps in when we’re not looking, creeping like a slough of cement.
It takes the innocence out of our eyes. It stocks our minds full of noise and clutter, and we’re left filled with a pile of want that can never be delivered, cravings that cannot be satisfied, desire that expires with time, and time that’s always running short.
We watch helplessly as our ideas for a life we’d long envisioned vanish into ether.
Yes, the world hardens us all. And it does it well. Because we are made full by the world.
But, we need not worry.
Life moves forever forward. And we are forever life’s children, no matter our age. We are the last and the first. The false and the true. We complement the rising sun with our dreary days and our wanting clouds.
We cannot escape the world, so we choose not to escape it.
But if we’re lucky, we can escape ourselves in the moments between spaces. And if we can learn this secret, we will witness new life.
Though it’s unwise to tramp in the past, doing so is part of our own bizarre humanity.
We revisit the times of sweeter days to remind ourselves that, yes, there was a time when every color was as brilliant as the sun. Every thought of wonder was as endless as the blue sky. And every morning once held the magic of a Goddess smiling at the falling moon.
We call upon our better days to tell ourselves, hey, it’s going to be alright. You’re going to be alive again. You’re going to feel again, just like you once did.
And we will.
Our time here is so short. Atop a pile of spent hours we sit waiting for one more drop of time. And we’re all left envious to those who have more of it than we.
But, I see hope in my son’s young eyes. In his life, I see the secret. I see who I truly am, and who I once was.
He has no concept of time. No idea of what’s to come, and for this I smile. Because the world has not called to him just yet.
So please, let me enjoy these days through him.
Let me watch the innocence in his heart. Let me be witness to the pure joy in his eyes. Let his feet fly over the open field and let him be full of love for this world, and let me stand watch.
Let him dance to the music of the universe.
Fan his eternal flame, and let him run wild with the warm summers I’ll always remember.
Let him know he runs atop the land of giants, and he is the tallest.
Just like I was.