Today I walked out of my door and into the city of my childhood. After a winter that was too long and cold, I walked out of my door this morning and into thick swamp air, air that is so full of moisture you need a sharp knife to cut it, but for the first time I felt the world was doing what it should. Check your window screens my friends, the mosquitoes are starting to hatch, and life outdoors will soon be unbearable for all the right reasons. Spring is here and the heart is struck by one dumb idea after another, such as the urge to begin collecting books.
"Wholly be the fool while spring is in the air, my blood pressure approves", wrote E.E. Cummings, and what could me more foolish than paying for books when one lives across the street from a library? To feed my obsession with thinking I can read my way into knowing everything sounds misguided. When not tempered by due dates and late fees I fear my favorite hobby could be come dangerous.
There is a family reunion coming up soon and in anticipation of such an occasion my parents pulled out old photographs and old stories of my childhood. I was the kid who would never talk or tell them anything. Last night my mother confessed, "You were the easiest to raise because you made the worst mistakes, but you always clean up after yourself. It just always seemed like by the time we knew you had a problem you had it all taken care of. You were a solemn child who acted older. You were always too serious to be a young person.
Once a year it seems, on a warm spring day I achieve a breakthrough. I come to a point were, having been middle-aged for most of my life, I start thinking about maybe acting my age. Of course, it's hard to be wholly foolish when you take to heart the idea that every action has its consequences. I look at the crowded bars on Saturday night as a form of hell. I look at the things people write next to their full name on Facebook and think, "Not for me, thank you very much."
I would like to think that I have grown from my past mistakes to become a sage of wisdom, but we all know there is no guarantee against foolishness. Great people seem to have as many problems as the rest of us. We all set out to make the right choices and love our neighbor, and the next thing we know we're running off to Rio to be with Raul, the polo player.
I have found the adage "Step on a crack and break your mother's back" very useful as a guide to life. It has helped me to imagine that acts have consequences beyond what I can imagine. Without meaning to, one might cause the old lady to suddenly fall to the floor, withering in pain. Who knows how it happens? It just does. Maybe this is just Spring talking, but I feel like I have stayed off the pavement for far to long. I stepped on a crevice when I was 16 and have been strolling through grass and bare dirt ever since. Now granted, I may never venture across cobble stones, but I just might walk on the sidewalk for a while.