Casimir Pulaski Day

Looking back through the waves of nostalgia, there’s something brighter about the life of our youth. There’s something richer and purer. Something beautiful. There’s a burning feeling for the simplicity, for the adventure, for the creeks, for the glory of the dappled sunlight and bicycles through the summer streets, for sleepovers at Eddie’s. There’s some yearning there, and it comes back at the first old song.

And you get it from songs, don’t you, you get that feeling of transcendence. You step, for a moment, beyond the confines of this world, into something ultimate and ecstatic.

You feel it in love. Love feels like a symphony.

You get it from common purpose, from a shared dream, from nationalism or environmentalism.

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I can remember my Grandpa, before he passed away, taking me out walking through the trees. Every passing turn was filled with adventure, with mystery, with an endless forest of potential. I can remember canoeing with him slowly along a flat long lake.

My mind jumps forwards to canoeing on a school camp. To the pure, raw fun of exploring the bush with a dozen of my best friends, no parents, no school work, just endless natural surroundings.

I can remember playing out the side of church, fifteen years old, with friends, and one of us not knowing the rules of soccer, getting it all wrong, trying to tackle somebody with their chest. That memory stretches out for three years, just mucking about, just little kids.

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One of the boys I used to play soccer with is no longer alive. He died of cancer instead of going to university. I can’t call him up, go over to his house, talk about cricket. There’s no him to answer the phone.

My grandpa passed last year. He was like a mystic to me. This invulnerable seer, that knows something you never will, that has this connection with the natural, that has been taught lessons that the world has long forgotten. There were conversations we never had.

And you think back of those times, and you remember that your father’s hair once was brown.

And all those years of riding bikes with the group after school, and all the adventures we shared. And now we are scattered into small unconnected lives. After the bright of Camelot I wonder if the nights each drifted off into separate lives and different loves, and only sometimes remembered the beauty they had around that table.

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In the very best of life, when the song reaches its climax, you still feel the lack. You still feel, that even at its greatest, this record is slightly off track. Isn’t it slightly out of tune, even through the sepia tones of nostalgia?

When you are soaring, carefree, at peace, suddenly the phone rings. And you are immediately reacquainted with life in a paradise lost.

And I don’t know what else can deal with it. I don’t know what other system of thought can help. When you get everything you ever wanted, and it doesn’t satisfy, or it doesn’t last, and you yell out in frenzy at this bipolar universe, what answer are you gonna get back?

Silence?

What if every glint of light, in this dark and shadowed world, was the reflection of something brighter soon to come.

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