Does anyone else get the feeling that everything seems so complicated, yet the same, all at once?
I’ve been thinking of the simplicity of days past. Times when everything seemed rather natural, easeful. Unplanned. Unrestrained.
When I was a kid, it wasn’t a chore to go outside for fresh air. To play. It’s where I wanted to be. So much freedom. Escaping from watchful eyes, I could walk and explore. Look to find someone to come along with me, or meander on my own.
I would walk and jump. Skip down the sidewalks. Come upon the monkey bars in the playground, stopping to hang out for a bit.
I might hum a few tunes along the way or daydream about what I might do tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I would find some friends hanging about. Perhaps we were lucky enough to have 10 cents to spend after finishing our paper routes. Anticipating all it might buy. Licorice strings that I could practice braiding together. The green ones being my favorite. Powered sugar in long straws. Those crackle-pop things that would burst all at once in your mouth.
I loved to dip my hands in the mud after a heavy rain… looking for unknown treasure. Or place small twigs and leaves alongside the gutter and watch how long they would travel down the street before some kind of obstruction from mud or rock stopped the adventure. Pick flowers. Build tree forts in the yet-to-be-developed suburbs. Throw snowballs. Play road hockey. Always trying to beat my older brothers at their own game, from which I was excluded.
I would play by the light of the day. Navigate the way home by twilight for dinner or bedtime depending on the season. The sun dipping low as my cue for either. That, or someone calling “supper time” in the neighborhood out their front door. It might be my mom, or maybe it was yours. It didn’t much matter as it was still a signal that our time was up.
Today, the day is clocked, watched. Tuned by the rhythm of the pings, alarms, flashes of light so we don’t miss a thing.
These days I’m now wandering rather aimlessly around the neighborhoods, gasping for a little fresh air. Looking for a friendly face to say hello to behind my mask. Some boldly saying hello. Others holding their breath, covering their face as they make room to unobtrusively pass by. This being masked, eyes down, gaze lowered. A story for another time.
The simplest of movements now are so guarded, watched. Complicated. I believe things are changing, opening up again where I live two days from now. Unless of course, they don’t. Stay tuned.
I don’t anticipate normal any time soon.
In the meanwhile I hope some of the young kids I see about the neighborhood these days are dreaming of ways to use this technology at our fingertips to some helpful advantage. At the same time figuring out how we might again disconnect to reconnect. Look up and out. Stir our imaginations towards a more wise, self-sustaining yet uncomplicated future for the ones we love.