Getting older there is one thing that astounds me – you can be walking along and with no apparent rhyme or reason a memory is triggered with instant clarity – something you have not thought of nor thought of anything that would bring you close to that memory…it happened for me recently. I was walking down 34th, heading to Penn Station to catch my train home and I was struck by a memory from when I was maybe 16. The memory was so clear it could have happened yesterday.
It was when I was back home and in high school and one of my “first true loves” and I were driving and he pulled over. There was a crop of trees and just beyond it you could hear a stream (but could not see it). The road was not highly traveled and to get to the stream you had to beat back branches and not worry about chiggers. We got to the bank of the water and it was crystal clear. Like happens in a lot of streams, rocks formed a natural dam which allowed water to back up in a decent depth pool. But you could see the smooth river stones on the bottom. The water was beautiful. It was a hot day, the sun was blazing. We stripped to our undies (sorry kids) and dove in. The further side of the stream was a sheer cliff. I remember seeing soap in one of the crevices. He told me that sometimes the coal miners stop and wash in the stream on their way home during the summer months. It was such a beautiful moment. Before the worries and stresses of adulthood hit. Swimming in the stream with the love of my life. The smell of woods, fresh dirt and clear water. The breeze on damp skin that dried quickly in the sun.
Such a good memory. A time when I did not have to remember to breathe in and out and life flowed naturally. I miss those days.