Our memory tends to work as a camera; forever capturing distinct moments in our lives. Over time, the picture might fade or rip or tear or become distorted in one way or another—but the focal point of that picture remains the same. And, as we grow as individuals, the meaning behind that picture tends to grow and develop as well. What may have started simply as a picture of a man on a boat could later develop into a man sailing after his dreams, or sailing away from his fears.
I was recently doing some spring cleaning, shuffling through papers and sorting supplies, when a photograph caught my eye. Under the dust revealed a picture of my two older brothers and I– a picture taken many years ago. No surprise, the photograph triggered a memory.
It was a fantastic crisp spring morning and we were all outside enjoying the rays of sunshine, the blossoming orchard trees, and the smell of fresh cut grass and tulips in bloom. Being two boys of eight and nine, my brothers were off playing some type of rough and tumble sport that would result in dirt covered faces and bruised knees, and I was sitting with our dogs in the garden.
As I sat in my favorite white cotton spring dress, my mother kneeled nearby; creating a crown of flowers that was to be rested upon my mousy brown curls. I picked out the flowers that would act as jewels upon this crown; magnificent pink and triumphant purple lye in clusters in my hands. I now understand them to be the same nutrient-sucking weeds that spot my front yard- but back then they were fit for a princess.
As the jesters squealed with laughter and horseplay nearby, and the queen gently looped the stems in, out, and around each other. The guards, being my two huge and unfortunately hairy dogs, sat by my side; keeping my slender and scarcely dressed body warm. Soon the king emerged from our castle with a camera in his big, rough hands and asked to pose for a photo.
The princes, who now resembled paupers with their mud streaked faces and hair gone astray, ran over to my mother and I. Gasping for breath and trying to maintain their giggles, they crouched down and put their muddy arms around me. I smiled to the camera with my finished flower crown and held my mother’s hand, as another hand rested on one of my beastly dogs.
As I put the picture back on my messy desk; a desk full of deadlines and stress and worries, I realized that life will always be my kingdom, and that somewhere off in the distance the jesters will be at play and the weeds will bloom for my crown. That no matter how much bad there is in this world there will always be a good; a safe haven, an inkling of hope. That regardless of all of the cold hearted people who threaten my castle and my people and the ones I love; I will always have that youth and strength and love surrounding me.
So I placed this picture in a frame not to remind me that I am some type of princess, not to remind me that I rule a kingdom; but to instill a certain truth and trust within myself that life is beautiful. Life, with all of its flaws and curveballs and ups and downs, is intoxicating and wonderful and fit for the richest of kings and the poorest of paupers. That land should not be fought over, but should be celebrated by those who reside in it. That riches should not be competed for, but shared with those who are not as well off. Life requires imagination, and strength, and passion, and curiosity to have the ability to create moments like that picture; moments to live and die for, moments that make someone feel truly alive.
Life is beautiful, this I believe.
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