When I was young, the sun came as a surprise.

The new day was a friend that came knocking at my door. The birds sang in harmony while dandelions bent in the wind or beneath my toes. There were smells I didn’t know. People smiled and it seemed my presence gave them a laugh-I was small and knew so little.

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?


I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

Houses in our community were huge and the lawns, though fenced, really had no boundaries. There were hidden places to go between the yards and secret paths to run.

Remaining still was not an option.

Life was a new bloom that would never wither. Leaping one day meant I’d jump further the next. The phone was never for me when it rang it but, still, I heard the call from everything else, the sky, the moonbeams, the stars that really did twinkle, the train that always blew its whistle and the beach waves that circled my ankles. Being young was never a cumbersome potential I had to carry with hope. No, I lived suspended in a stream of unspoken understanding. Yearning had no place in dreams.

The silence knew just what I was thinking.

Parents in our community knew me and my friends by name, and they were always watching or made it seem so. The entire community was our home. We ran without fear. We hadn’t an inkling that we could age and move on to the next day, or month, and then through so many years.

Still, changes did come and some were harder to deal with than others. My sister went to college while my brother got on a bus and went to camp over the summer.

Why would my brother leave for camp?

Why would my brother leave for camp?

I kept the home-fires burning while my sibling’s were away.

A tree’s nooks and crannies offered the surest foot holds; my fingers grasped each branch as if I’d never let go.  Friends, and music, became part of my family.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

we laid 'tracks' down hoping to make it Big.

We laid ‘tracks’ down hoping to make it Big.( My hat is on my knee; 1962ish)

The light in my friend’s eyes could shame the sun.

Friend’s laughter dazzled my imagination, a spark that ignited my new adventurous frontier—the one someone had called, Life. Kindness was never a decision, it just flowed through me and my friend’s lives as a waterfall we loved to see.

It felt all wrong when I realized I was no longer young.

One day, my friends had grown up. The dizzy bee games and tangled bodies on the lawn had vanished from sight and only shadowed my mind as a memory. Friend’s went places I might never see; some of us would lose touch, completely. Other’s called occasionally until there was little left to say. Where we would go or why—really, none of us knew. Still, in a sketchy note, in a brief visit or between bursts of laughter during a short phone call, all that could not be said was heard. Too much had changed for us to ever make it back, so with an unsigned agreement each of us had moved on.

Separate paths become so distant, and time so rushed. Life is full of new, surprising turns and all hands must grip tightly to the wheel; all eyes must look ahead.  For most of us, the love for our younger days remains but it’s crammed for space in our minds, challenged by infinite choices, by signs of every kind that point us in every direction. It takes a lifetime to read them all.

When I was young, I loved the sun, the birds, the trees, the endless wind and clouds that drew pictures in the sky. Now, I hope they love me, too.

When old friends do call, or write, or send those almost obsolete seasonal cards, I hope they’ll know I refuse to say goodbye. I hope they’ll look into the mirror and see their young, shining eyes as I once saw them blaze. Next to that wondrous view will be my eyes equally aglow as we once were, running unbridled by time, without worry or care.

The morning sun should always be a surprise, no matter if you’re young or old. Of course, the past can never be changed—I get that. Thing is, the youngest years never die, not really. Those days are all here, so distant but easily touched if we take the time to reach out, or remember, and smile.

It’s so easy to forget tomorrow is only a wish.

Not so long ago.

Not so long ago.

Too long ago.

Too long ago.(My dad and his sister, my cousin Dave and my Uncle Mo-now all gone.)

Now, at sixty-six years of age—how could that be?—I realize there comes a time in life when every meeting feels like it might be, goodbye. But as the Beatles sang long ago, I say hello.*

The youngest years come once in a lifetime and last forever.


*Early Beatles…

Not even long hair?

Not even long hair?