Maya Angelou is known to have said, “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I am with you, kid. Let’s go.’” Now, I’m not meaning to suggest that our dear friend Maya is a liar… but I’m wondering about the extent to which this is true. Come to think of it, some of the best times in my life have been when I’m willing to run around barefoot and harvest the day with reckless abandon. I have this fantastic image of Life and me having a go at the park and flying kites. Mine would be purple (because it’s my favorite color) and Life’s would be red (because red seems as though it should be Life’s favorite color if it isn’t already). I might take a moment to pause and ask Life, “Why are you so difficult sometimes?”
Life would just look at me with the earnestness of a child, not saying anything.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it…” I would stammer. “Hey, last one to the tree is a rotten egg!”
I don’t think Life would have a lapel, though. He’d probably be wearing a black t-shirt—black because it’s either the most beautiful or the most devastating color. After a lunch of PB&J’s with sun chips, Life and I would head back home. He would want to take the “scenic route,” over all the bridges and through dense thickets of forestation. Whenever I’d be tempted to complain and ask why we hadn’t just taken the highway, Life would say some cheesy thing like, “It’s not about the destination, but the journey itself.” (A line he learned from my cousin Keith after we spent two hours bushwhacking to finally arrive at a lone outhouse off a beach in northern Michigan when we were twelve.)
But you know? Keith and Life kind of have a point. It’s like when you’re a little kid and you keep whining to your parents, “Are we there yet?” not even considering that the state of being in transit can be wonderful. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to find that I love road-tripping, or driving just to drive. There is something about being in your car, listening to your favorite music, and watching the scenery whizz by as a world-montage, the stage for those thoughts you can only have in the quiet moments. As a lover of literature, it’s hard for me to admit this but… there are some things that just aren’t meant to be vocalized. Like the way I feel when I see the sun set behind the mountains as I’m driving back to my apartment from Springville and a beautiful Eric Whitacre chord seems to aurally paint the majesty I’m witnessing.
So, you know, Life being as wise and adventurous as we’ve learned he is… not sure he’d approve of the fact that I took an evening off from work just to sleep and hide from him. In fact, Life approves of very little I’ve been doing lately. We used to be best friends, you know. When we were little. Back then, we’d have the greatest of adventures. But now? Now we always seem to have these awkward encounters. I wish I weren’t so afraid of him. I wish I could just tell him how I feel and ask him why things have to be so… hard. He’s never liked that question. For being such a wise guy, Life can be really bad at sharing his feelings. Maybe the best thing to do is go stargazing. Life always seems to open up when I just allow him to be silent and look at the stars.
And imagine my luck: the Leonid Meteor Shower is tonight.
we're never where we want to be
that's okay with me
that's just the way it is, they say
it feels like make believe
that you're my history
but brother I've rediscovered you and
we're pushing on
we're passing through
and it won't be long
till I walk with you
tonight I'm down
yeah, I'm inside out
staring at the pictures in the album you forgot about
isn't it a shame
that times have changed?
but isn't it strange?
lifelines stay the same
round and round
I can't believe my heart has waited this long
all along, we've been children in a cold world
where wonder was lost, every day
and if love was a compass
oh, I've lost my way