Childhood is a magical time; Free and effortless. It moves across the pages of our lives the way a summer storm moves across the plains – beautiful and remarkable and loud and fast. It leaves us changed. New. But childhood can be trying, too. We’re learning so much about ourselves, about the world, our brains growing and absorbing at an alarming rate. Our bodies changing and feeling and hurting and yearning.
When I was a young girl life was much simpler than it is now, an admission that makes me sound much older than I actually am. But it’s true, nonetheless. My summers were spent with cousnins and friends. Chasing dreams in fields of long grass, and jumping into cold, clear lakes, bobbing my head up in secret hideouts under the docks and rafts, fish biting my toes. I fought dragons and played Mario Brothers in basements during summer storms, and I watched parades and ate hot dogs. I’m certain we had a TV but I can’t actually remember watching it. I tell people I didn’t have cable growing up – but if I really think about it, the truth is that I don’t know if I did or not. TV just wasn’t as much fun as dragons and parades and fields and lakes.
Looking back on it, remembering life when I was six or nine or twelve, it seems like I grew up in a storybook. I recall it the same way I recall a favorite novel – It’s characters apart from myself but not really. My memories are dotted with visual cues, like an old super-8 with light leaks and ample amounts of grain, but mostly I remember the way if FELT to be a kid. I remember feeling as though the world held all the promise of infinity. Of everything. That no matter what happened, I could be whatever I wanted to be.
I recall that promise so acutely that even now, at the age of 31, I can close my eyes, breathe deep, and *be there.* On the cusp of the moment my life begins. Ready to leap, filled with excitement and terror and moving only through sheer force of will through a terrifying maze of unkown. As strange as it sounds, this promise, this cacaphony of everything is where I go when I need stillness. When I feel a little …. lost. Sometimes it’s not about finding some magnanimous answer or epiphanous clarity. Sometimes it’s just about getting even more lost in the possibility of everything.
At times like that – like this – I just close my eyes and remember six or nine or twelve.
I remember promise.