What are you supposed to do when your problem is thinking too much? Bang your head against the wall?
I found myself with some extra time today. I didn’t really like going for walks, but I convinced myself I don’t have anything better to do. Besides, I’ve been working hard and should relax. It was mid-afternoon and the weather was perfect, or at least how I like it. The temperature was warm, with a very high, thin layer of cloud cover that diffused the bright sunlight.
I came upon a park. It was a large grass field with a circular path around it and people from all walks of life. This park just so happened to sit on the top of a large hill. It was called “Reservoir Park,” probably because of the giant water tank fixed maybe 50 feet above the ground, giving life to thousands of houses below.
I started walking counter-clockwise around the park and noticed a familiar looking view. I’d never seen this particular view before, but I recognized it because it looked out over where I grew up. I stopped and stared out at the hill I grew up on. I used to venture into the woods and climb up a tree high enough so I could stare out into the future, unknowingly looking out to where I was standing today, into a mirror with no reflection. I tried to think about everything that’s happened between then and now, all the success, all the heartbreak, everything that’s gotten me to this point so far and changed me from who I was into who I am, but I couldn’t. Nothing came to mind.
From the outside I’d assume that this would be great cause for concern, or should at least worry me in some sense, but I wasn’t even aware that nothing came to mind (funny how minds work). I wasn’t void of memories, but I was remembering, only instead of thoughts coming to mind it was purely feelings coming to heart; the joy, the pain, the love, the longing. I stayed in that moment for quite some time, and after I began to continue my walk I realized I indeed have grown since a child staring out from the tree tops. Never once growing up did I assume I would end up so close to my original home (at least so far). I always had some lofty goal that I would be extremely successful in whatever I did and move far away to somewhere better, some mystical land, wherever that was. But that was before I came out of the woods and went out to live my life. It’s easy to dream when everything looks so open.
Possibly the most important growth that I have experienced is an emotional one. It may seem super simple for some, but I have always been a logical person, using reasoning, knowledge, and whatever else I could prove or validate in order to come to any conclusion. ‘Emotions’ have not been easy for me. I’d get happy and sad like everyone else, but I never got too attached to anything, and would never say, “I’ve got a feeling about this…” Emotions have more or less been a reaction or side effect, so for me a purely emotional response to something is quite amazing, awakening, and somewhat of a miracle. If I can simply look at a view and feel such a wide range and depth of emotions, then that’s amazing. What good are thoughts and circumstances if we don’t feel anything? Every time I asked myself “what do I want to do with my life?” I’ll come up with an answer, and then ask myself, “why?” I’ll do that a few times and it always boils down to something along the lines of “I want to feel happy, feel good, feel loved,” and a big part of that is making others feel loved as well.
I completed my circular walk and looked back across the park to where I stood saw the view, and I couldn’t see it anymore from where I was standing. The trees hid the view from the street, and I noticed if I hadn’t first chosen, logically, to go on this walk, then I would not have ever seen that view, that narrow window into the past. Of course it’s easy to see now, but how many other opportunities like this have I missed? In how many other ways am I still looking out from the trees, waiting to see a reflection?
How are you supposed to read a picture? I know with words you go left to right and the spaces tell you where the words are, but with pictures, where do you start? Is there a way to tell if you have picture literacy? Sometimes words are illegible, but is there such thing as an illegible picture? Or do you just call it “art?”
I suppose as your writing teacher I’m supposed to give you an assignment. So for that assignment I would like you to write something.
Is that it?
No, something. Something in particular.
What does it need to be about?
Like I said, something.
Well, if there’s basically no rules, can I just sneeze on a piece of paper and turn it in?
This isn’t art class–there are rules here. I try to keep it simple, but you people keep trying to be creative and keep messing it up, so I don’t add any more rules. I’ve had many students try to write about anything and it never works out.
Okay, so how long does it need to be?
Write until you think I’m convinced, then stop.
Remember when we would pick berries, and when everyone stood on the hill to watch the airshow we’d sell them for 25 cents a cup?
Yeah. Remember the dog barking at us from the deck because he wanted to pick berries with us too, but he fell through the slats and landed on his face?
I remember he fell, but I don’t remember seeing it. Do you remember what we spent our earnings on?
We weren’t allowed to keep the money; we had to put it in the piggy bank. Do you remember when I took it and hid it?
Do you remember when I smashed it open and took everything?
No, but I remember getting punished for it. Do you remember how much was in there?
Not a clue.
Why is it important to make friends, pursue your dreams, try new things just so you can get embarrassed? I would tell you why, but that would ruin the whole purpose. I just want you to do them, then take a step back and learn, so when the time comes where your son questions why should we stretch ourselves to do so many things, you will have acquired the wisdom to not tell him either.