Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 9, 2015 - Leaning Against Old Oaks


I went for a walk in town today to pick a few things up.  I much prefer being out in the woods, but there were a few things I had to get, so it was unavoidable.  It was early in the morning before the heat of the day, and I parked my car several blocks away, thinking maybe I’d get a quiet walk in before the hustle and bustle of the day began.  As I walked, thinking and planning, I found myself going down some side streets I hadn’t been down in a very long time.  I wasn’t sure why I veered off the main road; I only knew my feet went in a different direction than the store I needed to visit.

I found myself on a back side street that doesn’t get much traffic.  Something about it seemed familiar as I walked, but I was lost in my thoughts thinking about what I needed to get done today.  I stopped dead in my tracks, though, when I saw the old house.  There it was, just as I remembered it all those years ago.  This must have been why I veered off the main road in the first place, but I didn’t realize it until I was there.  I hung back across the street by the old oak tree and just looked at the house.

Be careful when you lean against an old oak.

About a quarter of a century earlier I had been in that house.  I had an old friend who lived there.  She invited me over for dinner one day, and there was another friend there as well, so it was a threesome.  We had such a good time spent in conversation and much giggling!  My friend was making little catnip toys for Christmas for all of her friends who had cats.  They were basically a tiny square of fabric sewn into a pillow shape and stuffed tightly with catnip.  All three of us were hand sewing the little pillows and chatting and laughing.  We ordered a vegetarian pizza with artichokes on it because one of the gals was a vegetarian.  I was worried I wouldn’t like a pizza without pepperoni, but it was very good!  I’m sure the company helped.

We laughed and talked and worked and ate for a long time, discussing all the complexities of the day, sharing gossip, and plotting the revolution.  It was a magical evening of fun and friendship, and as it got dark outside, my friend turned on little strings of lights that were wound all around the windows.  I went to one of the windows to look outside, and I was surrounded by twinkling little lights everywhere that just seemed to make the night even more fun.  It felt like we were all in an enchanted kingdom, and I had a blissful evening.

Maybe we were in an enchanted kingdom back then.  Today I stood across the street, leaning against the old oak and thinking about that night of friendship and frivolity.  I tried to picture my younger self inside the house, walking to one of the windows and looking out and seeing my older self leaning against the oak, peering at the house.  What would my younger self had thought?  I tried so hard to picture it, maybe trying to make it come true.  Could the younger me have ever had a clue what a quarter of a century can do to a person?  Probably not.  What direction might she have taken had she seen the face of her older self?

I watched the house for a while, thinking about the people from the past.  One of the women there that night all those years ago is already dead.  The other lives very, very far away on the other side of the earth.  And me?  I’m still here, leaning against old oak trees, looking for lost dreams, and thinking about ghosts.

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