“Ok… when I say ‘Team Edward,’ then you say ‘Team Jacob.’ Got it?”
I sit by the shore of the lagoon and watch two young girls wring out the juices of life. A Succulent Mixture of Laughter, Friendship, and Perfect Adolescence. They splash and yell wildly, praising the gods that have allowed them freedom to choose between a werewolf and a vampire.
For a moment I can see myself, twelve years old and invincible, squealing in delight with my best friend Rachel after finding a “secret lagoon.” A beach erased from the public, where swans poked through the high grasses and the warmest water begged to enclose our newly-freckled knees.
This is the place of my childhood. The hideaway spot of my teenage years. Today I sit and wonder why the world is so persistent in telling me that I am 22. I swear I can slip into the skins of my twelve year old and seventeen year old self and share memories with them like summer s’mores.
Funny how this can happen, how pockets of this earth seem to hold memories of our younger years for safe-keeping. We are bound so tightly to our grown up attire but a single step, upon a familiar seashore or a roadside that once took our skinned knees and spit back shadows too big for our bodies, and we are swept up into a moment of reminiscence.
It is as if the memory of laughter, sisterhood or a first love has sat and waited for our return, waiting to promenade in our paths once more and beg by tiny voice, “Remember me? Can I stay for just a little while?”
When these memories come we should Welcome Them, Entertain Them, Let Them Wash Over Us like salt water itching to grasp the shore. They are, what I like to call, “the good stuff in life.” They are reminders that we are living. And that we have lived. That we are breathing. And that we have breathed. That we kiss. We gush. We laugh. We build. We treasure. We ache. We sing. We grapple. We whisper.
And then we pile up all these actions and use them as grains of sand to build the sand castle in our mind that is called, “Remembering.”
Like an internal hard drive that we pray never fails us, we keep these memories stocked up and stored. We play with them. We recall them around cups of coffee and dinners for two. We write miraculous stories about them. We Carry Them. We Share Them. And for the memories that we want to let go of, it is our decision to either make them sharp and jagged or to let our hearts smooth their edges to sit as sea glass in our souls.
I said “I love you” at this lagoon and wrapped my arms around a somebody. I painted pictures here during the few years where I legitimately thought I was created to give Monet some stiff competition. Here is where I discovered the “Yes, No and Maybe” rocks: the caveman version of the Magic 8-Ball. These rocks were buried under the sands and, with their uncovering, they would tell a preteen dreamer whether she would have a boyfriend in the next year or be a famous author one day. Today I sit and plead with a God that I won’t take this life for granted, that I won’t be so swept up in living “Just Right” that I forget the art of “memory-making.”
Memories remind me that this world is Ever Shifting and Ever Begging for us to root ourselves in a moment that involves people & places, smells & feelings, rainstorms & sunsets, contentment & appreciation. Memories would testify in court that this is the stuff that really matters, this is the stuff we will want when we grow older. Not the cell phones or the color coded appointment books. Not the laptops or the blog. But the people. And the moments we folded ourselves into with them.
Those Big Important Words can wait. Growing Up, Paying Bills, Planning Meetings, Making Calls.We never needed those perplexities growing up, why do we cling to them so tightly now?Today, let’s just find a memory from our childhood, plump and ripe with pleasure, t0 wrap around us like a feather down comforter. Or better yet, let’s don our quilt of memories around our shoulders but get out there in the world and sew new patches. Vibrant Squares of Love, Compassion, Friendships & Bravery. Oh yes, I like the sound of this.
I feel like serenading my memories, or delivering to them a monologue similar of Romeo to Juliet. Cannot you see the bold & endearing promise that comes entangled with each one? The Promise That We Are Not Too Young. Not Too Old. Not Moving Too Fast. Nor Too Slow. That we are Here. Right Here.
Wherever Here might be: the “Secret Garden” of our childhood or upon rocks that cut our feet but led us into arms that carried us home.