Evidence of a Childhood Continued: It's in the Snow



But just like other days of drifts and drafts, the snow quickly hypnotizes me like a vaudeville circuit tuxedoed magician and just like that I'm instantly transported back to a faraway memory island of galoshes and cocoa.

Certain things in life do that to me. They return me to precise pinpoint moments of childhood that arrive on my mental doorstep like all my long gone, often daffy relatives who marched like drunk soldiers towards my house every weekend waving their pink boxed bakery cake like holy incense, armed to the teeth with raucous conversation and endless opinions about everything.

The snow is speaking to me now. In the windy whispers of absolute conviction it's telling me that childhood, good or bad, is always right there, waiting in the wings, listening for its entrance line which always comes at the first blush of a snow storm, at the first pitch of a baseball game or the very moment you return to the next wildly anticipated lick of that impossible to ignore ice cream cone.

Adulthood, with all its attendant responsibilities is really just our day job because childhood is always peeking out from beneath it's willowy duvet, with its Keane-wide eyes and frontier of promises, whenever we snooze or dare to dream.

How long does it linger? Until the very end of the life symphony: at the final crescendo of death.
The death rattle I think is the identical sound of the baby rattle that we all held in the grip of our tiny pink-flesh hands.

Our ever-present and mostly hidden childhood, ironically, is less the provenance of a child and more the duties of an inner sentry that suddenly arrives to serve and protect the moment that the panic alarm sounds.

The warning sound has been lifted, note for note from the siren's song; the air raid shrieks of the 1950's, which in the day, made us duck and cover beneath our tiny vulnerable and wobbly wooden desks in a perfectly rehearsed synchronized ballet of abject fear, false safety and certain hopelessness.

When it goes off today, it arrives in the much the same way, from somewhere that is both too near and too far away, as it throttles all our senses until we feel so unbearably sad and lost that survival seems like a whimsical parlor joke.

Try as we may to remain cemented in the responsible NOW we know, because that's what big girls and big boys do, no matter how hard we try, deep down inside we all know that it's all nothing more than a futile show of force, a desultory flirtation with faith.

But just as optimism and faith have been hard wired into our parasympathetic nervous system, so have the madman screams of tantrums, loss and abandonment that are the true, unpredictable hurricanes or tornadoes whose seasons are our virtually every day. Our any given moment.

Falling in love is the immediate and triumphant return of childhood that never seems to stay rooted in any realistic state. It is as fidgety and impossible to control as a two year old and sooner than later just as impossible to satisfy.

So welcome to the rodeo whose bucking bronco is the life that you are desperately trying to hang on to.

We can kid ourselves I suppose, into believing that when we literally kid ourselves, we will have re-located to a land of sublime permanence that lies somewhere over the rainbow. But birthdays and Christmases are all calendar light when it comes to our real lives.

All the toys and rewards and vacations and even the sex that we are able to grab off the grocery shelves of our lonliness are just a temporary fix of childhood heroin as well.

It's a high. But only as high as you can swing before exhaustion sets in or when you suddenly realize that there is no one there any longer to push you.

But do not despair. Just between you and childhood is also the best kind of fossil fuel imaginable.

Instead of trying to contain or ignore it or live exclusively off it like a trust, maybe the secret is to make it your silent but equal partner and give it, in the process, more power and co-control of your life.

Look, most of us on Saturdays and Sundays are not actually in search for Godot, as we are the loving embrace of our holy mother and father. Literally.

We are orphans trying to figure out how to cope.

When you watch the debates, I'm guessing that we are looking for mom or dad; the mother or father or in Bernie's case, the grandfather of our country.

But what you really need is always bubbling like oatmeal right there beneath the surface of your soul, splashing away merrily in the kiddie pool of your heart shouting, "watch me!"

So don't resist the snow.

And come next spring, do yourself a favor: head for the baseball stadium while you quietly hold your dad's invisible hand.

Dress like in shorts and wave your glove into the air, because the truth is, that illusive foul ball is always a possibility.

Just like the return, on demand, of childhood.