Posting this as a blog now might be cheating a bit. It's a piece I wrote for myself in May of 2009 towards the end of my junior year of college. This was a sort of...uh...a 'thinking about the future' time, with my last year of college standing before me, and you'll find that it recalls another such time. I find myself in a similar moment now, really considering what's next and beyond. I post this because it makes me smile and because it reminds me of other times when I was a little bit scared, mightily unsure, and...well, just realizing that time marches on. There won't be a prayer section or a Bible verse at the end of this one, but I hope that as I rake through these questions again in my life that I can stay open and ready to lean on the the will and the love of God. Lastly, please help me with my commas.
Wisdoms, Locked Away.
Have you ever sat staring at something, just expecting it to move? I’m in my bedroom now, looking over at my desk, which has been there below the window ever since my family built this house and moved here 18 or so years ago. I’ve never really used the desk. It’s crammed into a little nook that corresponds to a dormer on the outside. I’ve always referred to them as doghouses. They are a popular feature on homes, especially those built in the 90’s. But the space isn’t really of much use. There is just enough room to wedge a small desk and for all of my rarely used junk to accumulate.
At the moment, sunlight is just peeking through the blinds scattering an interesting array of shadows around. The shadows aren’t of anything particularly invigorating—a blue photo box, some mugs filled with pencils or staples or spare plastic containers, an old digital camera and a cordless phone that never was loud enough, lazily wrapped in its cord. All of these and more sit covered in dust, projecting their shadows over the desk’s edge onto an old wooden chair with an ugly, brown-hued cushion that likely traveled with one of my parents out of some misguided decade. A small pile of rests on the cushion—a camera case, a wrist pad from keyboarding class, and a slightly obscured book, maybe from middle school band, I can’t really tell.
The shadow of the blinds dive severely down the left wall, capped by the jaunting curls of the ruffled short-curtain’s shadowy image.
And all of these fade and refocus as, presumably, the sun flits in and out of clouds beyond the window.
Heralded on its right by an old scholastic medal hung from the same pin that secures a pennant covered in faded signatures from my last days in elementary school, and just closer in the foreground, out of reach of sunlight, rests my old telescope with missing pieces, pointed depressingly into the carpet with tripod unleveled, as if defeated by the vast cosmos we once dared so fleetingly to rediscover.
It is all strangely beautiful as I sit here staring. Naively I expect all or parts of it to just suddenly move. A slight twitch and I would be satisfied. If the telescope shifted weight on its legs, or if the toes of the glass Goofy statuette wiggled, or maybe if the many posters, haphazardly arranged between the wall and desk, fluttered, I would be staid.
But in my imagination, so much more happens. The old electronic fishing game leaps into the air, guided by an unseen hand, and begins to jerk and wind as if the fish has been hooked. All the dust suddenly vanishes as the blinds loudly fly up behind the curtain while the telescope circles around, turning its weary eye to the heavens. The phone begins to ring and shake, falling to the floor, as the camera blasts into the air, wildly snapping pictures in any direction. The younger versions of my cousins come alive in the picture frame, smiling, laughing and screaming as the scene unfolds. The drawers fly open and papers zoom out, dancing wildly in the air. Pencils march from their mugs, scribing ancient languages on the white walls and the flying papers and the old posters and anything else that will accept their mark.
And it all creates a ruckus of noise, the flappings and flyings, the clickings and ringings, the cheering and windings, the scrapings and buzzings.
But it is all in my head. The real scene remains stoic and absolute, the only changes occur with sun or as the dust stirs when the air conditioner cranks loudly into service. But it is still beautiful, whether because it may suddenly stir into an amazing and impossible dance or only in its simple stillness, calmly waiting and watching as the years pass by.
The little space sees as much action now as it has in years. I have never done much work at that desk or spent much time in the space. In fact, the only potent memory I have is of myself sitting in there in that gruesome chair, blinds chord tied to the arm to hold them up as the mechanism had failed many years prior, spinning back and forth while watching the road in the distance, just barely keeping the tears from bursting out of my face as I thought about the recent past and fast-arriving future, all hinging on my high school graduation scheduled to occur in a few hours.
As the blinds danced up and down with my rotations, I sat there cold with fear, with innocuous droplets slinking up from behind my eyelids, wondering what these years had set into motion and not knowing which to fear more—an unchanging past or an unknown future.