I would call my memory of childhood a vague one. Unfortunately, most of my vivid memories are tarnished by a family situation, and somehow seemed to consume that allotted space in my brain and push out the happier, less important ones. As a result, I’ve found in my adult years that I have significantly fewer memories of childhood than my friends and family. I figured the most likely situation was just something specific to my brain, whatever that may be, until my younger brother (and only sibling) expressed the same discovery to me only about a year ago. He brought it up to me in casual conversation and said he feels like he “can’t remember anything compared to other people” and attributed it to the dark cloud that unfortunately shadowed many years of our young lives. I was surprised at how much I struggled to recall a childhood memory of a “happy place” or a place that I felt at peace when I sat to write this post. As I thumbed through the files of my mind, a memory popped out at me and I could recall the details so clearly. It was as if I was almost standing there again in that spot. I contemplated for awhile about why this memory had stuck with me, and I still don’t have an answer. Nothing significant happened in that place and time, but something significant must have taken place in my mind.
It was dusk as I stood at the end of the gravel road near my grandfather’s shed. The rest of the family was in the house just 100 feet from me, but I was completely alone in that space. Not lonely, just alone in the quiet. If you’ve ever spent time out in the vast country amongst fields and farms, you know the profound silence and stillness that you can experience. I saw nothing move around me and heard nothing in those few minutes of reflection. I remember staring up at the sky, and realizing it was vaster and wider out there than I had ever seen. The shade of blue immaculate and constant, until reaching the orange and pink clouds gathering over the setting sun in the west. The sun could no longer be seen from my viewpoint, but the radiating dark orange light signaled its departure. The day was closing in a beautiful and graceful manner, and I was just one little morsel standing there. The crisp cool air of the fall brought a sense of lightness to my being. I had no breakthrough revelation, just a deep experience of peace as I felt my existence in those few beautiful moments.
My mind nowadays is so busy and full of emotion, that I can’t imagine being able to experience such a feeling of peace and ease again. All of the clutter disappeared standing there on my grandparents’ drive and I felt complete comfort. No movement, no trouble, no hurry. I was free to just be.
I’m making a commitment to myself to have more moments like these. However I can find that peace, those times are so important to refocusing ourselves and appreciating the gift of life.