Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Toast to Innocence

So, the other day, I was in line at the supermarket, and who should I see in front of me, but someone I knew from another life.
She didn't recognize me at first, but when she did, boy did her eyes open wide!
Okay, not really.
I did visit a friend from another life though, and it did remind me of this:

I don't see folks from way back when, not at all.
I think as we move through life, we leave a lot behind, not on purpose, but by design.
The things we carry with us, the things we take along for the journey are by choice, they are there for a reason.
I don't enjoy contemplating the past much, there's just too much there, too many ifs, if you will.
I'd much rather concentrate on the now, the future, and what all that is going to bring.
At the same time, I will admit, there is a special place in my heart for the past.
I don't go there often, mostly again by choice, but when I do, I find out things about myself and the others that made my life what it is.
Now along with all this, I'm not going to lie, comes twinges of guilt, guilt for not staying in touch, not keeping these souls who at the time meant so much to me, guilt for letting it go, for taking another path.
Perhaps it is that guilt that keeps me away, keeps me moving forward.
Perhaps it is the guilt that I want to keep leaving behind.
I'm not sure.
As I grow older, it's become easier for me to go back, back to those days of folly and innocence, of wishful thinking and reckless abandon.
Once I realized that I truly did not have a clue what I was doing.
There's no making amends here and now, only reflection and reconciliation.
I realized the other night that you can bridge the past and the present, if that is what you wish.
The spans and girders are out there, the cables are ready, if you are.
Then there are the bridges that were always there, just on a different part of the map.
Like going home, there is a familiarity about it, a sense of belonging, a sense of time standing still.
Of course it's not really same, but that doesn't matter does it?
It feels the same, and that's what counts.
There's no going back to those days, not really, but I can hold on to that familiarity just the same, as if I were back in those days, those days when there was no tomorrow.
In the today, the difference is, I live for tomorrow.
The things I do tomorrow have become a guide, a beacon of sorts, lighting the path to the future.
At the same time, I've come to realize, that no matter how hard I try to deny it, the path of the future was trodden first in the past.
It's not such a bad place to visit, the past, as long as I just visit, not intending to stay.
That, I believe is the danger, finding that warm fuzzy, that familiarity, wanting to grasp onto it and not let go.
That sense of innocence, when everything was new, is difficult to reacquire.
As much as I'd like to, it is gone, replaced by experience and age.
Still, I can remember what it was like, and not feel guilty about embracing it.
At least for one night.

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