I have to tell you, lately, it has been wonderful to see more and more people getting back to some sense of normalcy. Today, I am unsure what the word actually means though. It can never be the same again, nor will it be. But as the saying goes; “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. It rings true, especially in this overworked and underpaid memory bank of mine. As I travel extensively, more and more time seems to be spent observing people throughout each journey. The recent one became the catalyst for this blog.
The warm summer sun is finally making itself known these days. With it comes a sense of spirit and optimism towards the future. Though the COVID mess seems to be very slowly making its’ way toward the rearview mirror in this state, the devastation still lingers in the wake of it all. I traveled about 12 hours away from home for these last two weeks and witnessed a few things along the way. Most of which were reminders from the past. Funny, it seems the older I get the more and more markers of days gone by seem to fight for space in my head.
With a notebook sitting across from me in the passenger seat, I find myself constantly writing down my thoughts, feelings, and observations as they happen all around me. None of it ever makes any sense as I scribble, but eventually, the words almost breathe life into my creative thought processes. Somehow, they take on a new purpose of structure and contemplation. It is what I do these days. I reflect, pause, observe, and share with my subscribers. To know that folks halfway around the world are reading my words each week is an absolutely humbling realization. I write constantly so as not to disappoint.
The most prolific of observations these past two weeks was watching a constant procession of young people walking by the place which I had been staying. Simply venturing forth to watch the sun go down. Nightly like clockwork, the road became one wider-than-normal paved pathway for young love, first dates, new opportunities, and renewed feelings of romance. The age range varied but overall I would estimate them to have been between 15 and 23 years.
Younger people walking by with sparkle in their eyes, as their awkwardness toward one another was clearly driven by their nervousness with each step taken. Voices reflecting the excitement and a zest for living. For them, nothing else mattered for sixty minutes. Anything was possible, and “oh by the way”… there happened to be a sun setting too. One of magnificent colors providing the perfect romantic backdrop for young love.
Some held hands and appeared to be savvy toward their individual situation amidst a certain summer of romance. While others were simply happy to brush shoulders at random every tenth step… just because. The one observation I could glean was; each and every one them proceeded without a care in the world, but simply to exist alongside merrily. For them, it was all about guiltlessly sharing time with the person they were with. COVID, money, the future, education, work, and a host of other real-world issues became less important and almost weightless to them. Night after night after night, their collective demeanor never changed. They actually laughed, smiled, and elected to just live in the moment. They had found a way to push it all back on the shelf and allow it to remain there for sixty glorious minutes. Imagine that.
Each pairing reminded me of myself during a happier less complex time in my life. A hundred million years ago, I was once that same kid who was afraid to hold the hand of a girl or look her in the eye. Remaining alongside her was all I needed to make the night absolutely perfect. The smell of her perfume called Skin was enough to cause me to slightly melt.
I remember those days, we all do. A time when bad things in life were so few and the world was vast with endless possibilities, as countless as the grains of sand on a beach somewhere. Sharing young love, was the most important thing. Nothing else mattered back then, but to enjoy being with a very special person. For the last ten days, I had been reminded once again of the person I used to be. Not yet a man, not a child. Just a skinny kid with blond hair trying to figure things out. Truthfully, I am unsure of my success rate in doing so even today.
As for my young love, I still like to consider the possibility that both know how the ending should be. It may never happen. But then again, I still believe in the magic of romance and the concept of possibility. She and I dance every ten years, we have since that summer when I was 18. It has been a decade now, maybe the music needs to start playing again. These kids inspired me.
I can relate fully to each and every pairing I saw over those ten evenings. Kicking small pebbles down the road in front of the house I was staying at, young people eagerly walking on their way for date night. I wonder in 30 years if they too will still be together, or hope to once again find each other for another shot at experiencing familiarly colored shadows from their past.
We all wish we could go back to Summer Love, I think.
Maybe it is much more than just two people making small talk. Could it be, this thing is actually a calculated precursor to adulthood. It is a pathway each of us forges on our way up the steps of life’s great stage. A reflective reminder later on, to what is important. Time spent with someone/anyone you love. An opportunity to forgo the stress of today and of tomorrow, but to simply enjoy the now with the one you are with.
One day there won’t be a tomorrow, only today. Live it fully and enjoy a few more sunsets.