Fifteen Deep

Recently, an old high school friend of mine won an Oscar. Her doing so forced me somewhat into the pensive frame I find myself writing in today. It made me wonder how I might have processed it all had I been in her head-state at the time and been granted such a personal honor. It is certainly fun to dream about, but when you peel the skin back from this contemplative onion, there is a concept here worth exposing. For about five straight days now, I have become slightly intrigued. How would I have reacted?

Both individual life accomplishments, and misfortunes, are a series of unmistakable markers realized throughout our journey together here. Age passes them out at random. Betting on the hand with which you are going to be dealt is a fool’s parlay. They teeter on the razor-sharp edges of experiential sensations carved from fate and timing. We triumph, and we endure.

Some of them are truly remarkable, momentous, and altering. Many offer up a reason to continue to strive for more out of our gift. You witness this all the time at award ceremonies. People stand in bewilderment upon a stage holding a trophy while thanking a series of idols and role models as quickly as they can before the music starts to play faintly in the background. An urge to acknowledge those who inspired us to pursue our dreams quickly overtakes the hour at hand when at such towering highs.

We all have those incredible breaths along the way when celebrations for successes, great or minuscule would best be shared with someone special. Immediately we obsess to pick up the phone, run toward the aura of a loved one, or long to share the news/moment with a live shadow from the long past. Occasions abound where we wish to smile gleefully with someone who, unfortunately, isn’t available to revel. Perhaps with someone, we may have never even met. How cool might this be?

However, the darker milestones are filled with trauma, and ongoing overwhelm so devastating, we desire for nothing more than to process unfairness in our own individual insulated hurt-house. Those skyscraping hurdles when the world appears to be plotting to take any positive strides away. It is as if, somehow, we aren’t worthy, for whatever reason, of being allowed to have a good run of days as planned for. Only then, too, chance seems so unfair, unjust, and stacked against us. Circumstance even tends to compound our misery when treading water in life’s deeper recesses.

We pine to go back to an easier run when happiness ruled with frequency and bad things remained hidden within the blue sky. We do so, perched alone with our thoughts on the front seat of an empty automobile. If you are anything like me, on those days, I tend to find myself speaking out by way of random voices asking for help. Pleading someone/anyone to aid in finding some inner strength to persevere through it all. We know no one is there to listen, but a part of us finds some small peace of mind in thinking/hoping there might be.

So, I offer this:

There is a wooden bench perched midway down a small hill overlooking a vast green pasture of clover. It patiently waits alone for the next occupant, knowing its purpose contains far more than a means by which to sit. The base is large enough to accommodate two, but only one person may physically seek it. Though reservations are never required, there are limits for its use. Here, time becomes vague and meaningless. It has no limitations and may be manipulated accordingly.

The weathered horizontal planks offer each of us a poignant opportunity. For 15 minutes, they permit a second presence to join. There are no constraints as to who may be invited alongside to celebrate, inspire, reflect, weep, prop up, love, cherish, or provide thought, wisdom, or guidance.

Your guest may be living or dead, famous or meek, familiar or a stranger, an influencer or an unknown. It makes no difference; emotions will help you decide. Timing is critical; when do you elect to sit on the bench? At one of life’s highest or lowest junctures?

Will you share your joy, or shall you divide your unimaginable pain? Will you do all the talking, or will you want to listen? Are you thankful and grateful, or longing and lamenting? Every second counts, there is no pause pressing, on time. The choice is yours. You are allowed, ONE person and ONE opportunity.

On your highest or lowest day, the sun glides into the western sky, creating a second shadow, sitting beside you. It starts to outline along the luxuriant green grass, joining yours exclusively for a quarter-hour.

Who owns it?



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