Monday, January 21, 2008

Virginia Boy and First Times..

Kentucky in the winter can be an empty place - the wind is cold, the horse farms are dreary with their castle like structures looming on the horizon, and the blue grass carries more of a hazy gray coat. The sun fills the sky, but the crisp air reminds you that things are going to be dreary for a little while longer, and even the folks I passed on my run tonight stayed huddled under their heavy coats with those thousand mile stares in a southerly direction.

As I ran tonight, I had a picture in my mind, one that has always been there as long as I can remember - it has changed from time to time, but the beauty that was there was a permanent - once you see, touch, taste, feel or experience something beautiful, it stays embedded in your head, and when you see it again, it sends a signal to you to let go, and just feel for a while. I had every intention of heading over to Malone's for probably one too many beers, and just sitting and thinking - but for some reason, the thought of sitting in another bar having a cold beer and thinking that there are other places I would rather be just did not excite me tonight. (There are places I would rather be, but I am happy that I am in Kentucky - it has been quite a while since I have ventured to the northernmost southern state, and folks here are friendly).

Last night, I had a dream that I had not been able to have in a long time - I have had this recurring vision for about twenty years - the first time I had it was when I was a sixteen year old kid in Virginia, probably growing up too fast, like my nine year old, and probably still a little out of touch with the rest of the world (and not really caring about it). I can remember the first morning I awoke after this dream, and the world was different, it was changed, and I wanted to see that place and visit as much as possible - it comes without any notice, and I don't really know what triggers it, except to say that when it does come, I wake up as young as I was on that first morning -

Here - I will share it with anyone who cares to read it -

Southern Yellow pine has a sharp smell, somewhere between fresh paint and damp earth, and pine needles under your feet are better than any carpet ever made. The morning dampness is still draping the ground, and I walk through this short stand of trees, following sunlight that breaks it way through the forest and reflects off of the green bows of the pines as they sway in a gentle, but warm breeze. The sunlight always brings up the image of little red riding hood, and the crumbs in the forest, it breaks through the trees, and each sparkle on the damp ground reminds me of where it is I am supposed to be.

It's a casual walk - not really looking for anything, but coming out of that forest, I see the house in the middle of the field - just a simple cracker box house, in a wide open field of auburn gold grass that moves in unison as the breeze blows across. It is off in the distance, but that ochre stained building seems to draw me in. The walk across the field is slow, just moving towards the house, watching the pine trees lining the field move, feeling the field grass brush my legs, and knowing that the house is a good place, a quiet place.

As I get closer I can see that this place has not been visited in a while, the paint shows the age of a hot Virginia sun, white bleached wood peeks through where chips have fallen - there is a simple four pane window covered with screen and a door that at one time was black, but is gray from the elements. Pushing open that door, and I feel this in my dream, all I see is an old cast iron bed - and that is all that is there - no pictures, no clothes, no people, just an old bed.

The best part about the dream is the bed - the smell of fresh white sheets, starched and bleached, fills my nostrils as I lay down and just feel the sweat bead on my forehead and stare out that little screened window - and I sleep.

It all comes to an end, without fail, with me walking past an old man, and he always says in a slow cordial drawl, "I am glad you came back here today...."

Rereading this - it does not seem like much of a dream, but if I could give to you just one moment of the peace and completeness that I feel when I lay in that old bed, it is amazing what the mind can do....

Someone mentioned first times to me a few days ago - and I think I need to stop looking at things as first times - in all reality, everything is a first time - I mean the routine is consistent, but the act itself is the first time, and it should feel that way - perhaps that is the entire problem with things - I always hoped there would be more, but maybe I hoped there would be different - not necessarily more - I guessed as life moved on, things would change, and everything, somehow was going to work itself out as long as I worked hard enough, and studied, and paid taxes, and visited my folks at Christmas, and went to church, and wore the right suit and tie. But really, what it comes down to for me, and where I am at right now is a simple place. I don't need more of anything, in fact I need less of everything - it would be better if I did not have to intellectualize everything, and just make the simple fact known, that it is good and wonderful, and I want another first time. The same holds true for those things that I don't want to be a part of - it is not worth the next first time, and I am going to burn my energy somewhere else. There is a first time for everything, but I guess what I am trying to say is that capturing and keeping that first time and holding that feeling every time is what makes life complete and makes every day new.

I have written too much tonight, and kind of rambled - but it is quiet and cold, and I have really enjoyed the company.

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