Monday, April 12, 2010

The circle

I have often tryed to decide how life could be defined best. Its odd how some of us, as humans feel the need to define everything around us by placing it in neat little categories. Sometimes, I think this is due to the fact our brain is divided up in the way it processes certain things, so subconsciously we do the same thing with our observations. I ,until a few months ago, use to relate life to a long hallway with windows. I think like most folks as we age, or perhaps as we experience things (because after all experiences can age a person faster then a calendar can) we change how we percieve our own realities.
As time has gone on, I have began to amend my previous thoughts about life. I think life is a hallway that is circular in shape. Yes there are still windows. The windows on the outer ring represent our lifes as they are, once again still the good parts, the happy parts, the memories if you will. The windows on the inside represent our dreams. There are fewer windows on the inner ring, the area is much smaller. We spend our life walking around this circle perhaps because life really does repeat itself, even if it is in the smallest ways. I think as we age, we tend to look more out the windows on the outside ring and less to the windows on the inside ring. There are those among us who still can constantly focus on the inner ring, no matter how old we get (I suspect Robin Williams is one of those people) But I think by and large as we age, our heads are turned more to the outer ring because we look more to our happy memories and less to our dreams.
Never fret, this is not a bad thing. You see, I believe as we age some of those dreams become reality, and thus move from the inner ring of windows to the outer ring. I also think there are alot of things we view favorably over time that we never thought we would. In the end our "reality" or memories end up being more treasured and we stop wanting to live "what if", and start wish we could live "rememeber when". I realize I am kind of babbling so I shall provide an example.
My parents sent out 4 packages filled with some of my old stuff. One of the things that was sent out was a wooden rattle type thing with a ring around the center. My grandpa lewis made the wooden thing for me when I was very young. I dont remember why or when he made it, I know I wasnt a baby anymore, perhaps it was a birthday or christmas present. What I do remember was the wood shop in which he made it, a dark building made of cinder block, that always smelled of that wood meets metal burning smell and More cigarettes. I remember how ominous my grandfather was to me at the time. He hobbled around his workshop sort of like a wise old Indian chief, and he always seemed very serious. The wood shop was poorly lit and very cluttered with all sorts of wood and projects and tools he worked on as well as various tv parts etc. It reminded me of a mad scientist's laboratory.
As all this imagery hit me I realized I was holding the wooden toy to my nose and inhaling the slight smell that came from that wood shop. It has been probably 25 years since I set foot in his wood shop, now I know it is gone due to some unfortunate circumstances. But that memory for good or bad is ingrained (haha ingrained its a wood joke) in me. And when I look back on it I feel pretty nostalgic. When I look at the pencil holder he made me I think of his impossibly gnarled hands thick and calloused from years of hard work. I remember how he reminded me of a tree sometimes by how tough his skin was and how rough his hands would feel. Even when he got older and infirm, his grip was still like iron. It was a different sore of iron, not like the iron I felt in my fathers hugs which brought a measure of safety and respect, but instead with him it was more you could feel how tough life had made him. I got all these feelings, emotions and thoughts from a sniff of a wooden toy and seeing the words "Handcrafted by Lewis W Bishop" on the bottom of the pencil holder. Some folks would look at my memories and think it was scary, but in truth now they are in a very special place called Remember when. A place that sometimes when I am feeling down and I look out those windows, I wish I could go.
As I drive down colorado blvd here, and see all the rolling farms, the cattle ranges and the familiar smells of growing corn and soybeans, I am forced to realized that I moved here to Dacono for many reasons. Most importantly, because inside of me there is still a boy riding his ugly blue schwinn 3 speed bike as fast as he can down spearsville road at 6pm at night, smelling all the earthy smells, feeling the summer heat with the gentle breeze and waiting for the next shaded dip in the road so I can build up speed to be hit with the next batch of new smells and sounds. Its all I can do to keep from letting go of the wheel and throwing my arms out again for that brief moment of superhuman flight and invulnerability you feel at that age riding your bike along on a nice summers day. Kind of funny, but I think in the end, those windows onto my memories are in some way better then my dreams could ever possibly be.

till next time

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