Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lives Before

Sometimes I still feel it should be possible.

15 years old and completely lost to a summer that quickly flew by. My time had revolved around Lake Ontario that year. I loved to swim. Loved to crash around through the waves; feel the water flow through me. I swam there with my nephews when they visited, and when they left, I swam alone. But as much as I loved swimming, it was the fall I waited for.

There's a little dock that juts out from a quiet inlet. It's in a whispery town with large farms and fewer people. The dock is formed of pressed gravel and concrete. It should have been ugly -was ugly. But that's what made it so beautiful. Man made peninsula that was completely alien to the surroundings.

I liked to sit there and watch the lake. The rhythmic flow of the waves nimbly dancing across the shore line or crashing against the rocks when the wind picked up. My head's always been a mess but sitting there I seemed able to blank out my thoughts and just be still. It's been a long time since I've had that luxury.

Out a short distance from my gravel perch, in the shallows, was a grouping of concrete blocks. They had dumped large slabs of concrete all along the edge, most likely to prevent people from going to far out. It seemed likely that a few blocks had just got away. It was random but in my mind I built order from the chaos. To me the blocks formed the shape of a giant.

I came to refer to my favorite spot as 'the stone giant's bed.' I even wrote a poem about the giant that lay in the water, waves lapping over him; moss growing on the sides. It was a Christian allegory. That's just the kind of kid I was. I was raised a Christian by my mom but from a young age I had begun reading the bible on my own. More so I believed it without being told.

Years later my experiences with various churches and different ministers who obviously didn't read the book their faith was based on, would contribute to my backsliding. It was only temporary though as I never stopped believing in God. My continued existence seemed founded in a miracle. Eventually I was able to move past my problems with individuals.

Still, sitting on a pier at that time, I knew nothing of those issues. I knew I loved the bite of the autumn air, mingled with the misting of the spray. The flecks of white churning in the dark swell. The water was cold, you could tell without touch, but there was something pure about it.

One cold and overcast day, I happened to be on the dock as a storm moved in. At first the rain was light. As the clouds rolled over the lake, pushed by heavy winds, the rain began to beat down. It was ice cold and each drop felt like a needle against my face. Yet I stood there watching. Looking out at the waves bowling along. Little blue hills on a lake, gathered up and flung violently against the shore.

I could feel the power from above and below. The air was electric and alive. I felt raw and tempestuous. As I stared out into the lake it seemed like I should be able to dive into the water; my atoms diffusing with waves, changing me till I myself became a wave, flowing in and flowing out.

I knew of course this wasn't possible.

I left a few minutes later completely soaked to the bone. Somehow I managed to avoid coming down with a cold. I went on as usual, completely unchanged by the experience. There were no profound revelations that I can share with you. Well, other than that it's nice to have somewhere warm to change out of wet clothes.

Some things, like thoughts of transformations are better left to the realm of fantasy. Still, every now and then, when I happen to pass a lake and catch the sunlight reflecting just right off the tips of the waves; sometimes, just sometimes, it still seems like I should be able.


Pat Tillett said...

A lot of us have great childhood memories, but very can express it so beautifully.
Really nice! It always makes me happy when my dashboard indicates that you've posted here.
Good job Tim...

Pearl said...

"I went on as usual, completely unchanged by the experience. There were no profound revelations that I can share with you. "

I beg to differ. You shared, and you shared well.

Stumbled in,