Saturday, July 1, 2017

Still Walking Through The Raindrops

I am on vacation.  Among the things I am too lazy to do while I am on vacation, at least today, is write.  I spent a bit of time yesterday perusing some of the junk that once upon a time filled this space - such as this little gem that I penned as I tried to process something that proved to be much harder for me to handle than is even hinted at here, which was Rob's impending departure for the full-time adult world...


Old Main in Summer

As a kid - high school / college - I dabbled a bit in songwriting with an eye towards actually putting a band together and playing live "rock n' roll"! (If anyone ever decided to make a TV Movie out of my life I figured I'd at least score Richard Grieco - from 21 Jump Street or Scott Valentine - Nick from Family Ties - to portray me.) I figured why not - I'm from Jersey, I'd been to the Stone Pony a few times by then and every time I sat for my College Boards I scored a 39 - the highest score - on the TSWE (Test of Standardized Written English). The fact that I can sing barely a little - although my mom likes to remind people that I was Oliver Twist in the high school's production of Oliver! as an 8th grader - can't read or write music and cannot play a musical instrument more advanced than the kazoo or the paint can cover - was of no moment to me. Huge surprise I'm sure that I ended up with a notebook full of song lyrics and no 15 minutes of fame.

Suffice it to say that 20 years + now down the road, I know precisely where that pipe dream has gone. It's jammed into the attic with the other long abandoned, never realized notions of my life - I'm sure that my notebook of original compositions is tucked away right next to the first 3 efforts I made at writing the next great American novel and the shot I took at writing my own play. I practice law out of necessity - I lack the skill set to make a comparable living doing anything else. Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse? I know not and at this point in the program I care even less. I'll worry about that in the next life - if I remember to think about it.

I'm reminded of it this morning though because it's no longer June. Courtesy of my yearly donation to the CU Alumni Association, the good folks that run that outfit send me a wall calendar. The calendar features simply gorgeous photographs of the Boulder campus. Upon my arrival here at the office this morning, upon turning on the light, I turned the page on the calendar to July and smiled at the photo of Old Main. At the University of Colorado, the architects and campus planners have done a masterful job of maintaining uniformity in the design of the buildings over the course of the past 100+ years so that irrespective of when the building was constructed it looks like the other buildings on campus. I'm likely doing it no justice in how I'm describing it - something akin to the architectural equivalent of The Stepford Wives - but it really is visually stunning when you tour the campus.

The exception to the rule is Old Main. She was the first building on campus and for a period of time apparently in the 19th Century - she was the campus. Those that followed her adhere to the rule, she is its exception as she should be.

While seeing a beautiful color photo of Old Main made me smile this morning - as it always does - it made me a bit sad as well. You see, the myth I'd created in my own head to deal with the impending departure of my son into the great wide open of the adult world has now been exposed. As discussed in this space last week, I had constructed the myth of "next month", which served me faithfully all thru June. However, like whole milk, my construct of self-delusion had a shelf life. When my eyes opened this morning, it was past its expiration date.

As a kid of eighteen or so, among the sentiments I tried to capture in song (cleverly titled "The Summer of '85") was the feeling among those of us who'd been together for a number of years and how we dealt with the fact that we were all going to be taking divergent paths as we headed off to college:

No one gave a damn about the real world/It was 10 million miles away/
That summer it was like a two month party/That began graduation day

But when August started to disappear/We wondered what the future held in store/
We kissed the girls goodbye and they cried/Like we were going off to war

The calendar tells me that we're a long way from August - 31 days as a matter of fact. My heart tells me differently. In my world, in present day, August is just around the corner. It's less than nine full days away.

Here in Levelland this morning, dawn has broken and the early-morning sun is casting a glow that will downshift from warm to hot in a few hours. There's not a cloud in the sky outside my window. There's not a cloud in the sky in the photo of Old Main as I gaze upon it either. Yet, here in my little world - it's raining. Springsteen's right - it's must have been a tear from my eye. Sunny days are coming, I know they are. I'm waiting.

And in nine days, Rob is going - as he's supposed to. Thru the rear-view mirror of my life, I can see my son's future. It's wide open and laid out right in front of him. And it's as bright as the azure blue sky over Old Main.


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