This I Believe

Dmitri - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the magic of true feeling.

Remember when you were young, I mean, really young? So young you remember not knowing your mom’s name? I do. I remember a lot from when I was little, partly because it happened so recently, and partly because it was just so wonderful. I’m a young guy, and I wish I were young again.

I remember when I was little, walking around my backyard that had once been a dump, and finding these glittering green shards in the dirt. I’d pick them up, hold them high above my head, and peer at the sun through the transparent jewel, inspecting it for its purity. I remember the thrill traveling up my spine every time I found something new in my backyard. What I remember best about being little was the way every feeling was an earth-shaking experience. I literally shivered with excitement when I inspected the dirt, unearthing a green, oxidized penny. To me Lincoln’s head was a lost key to an ancient world where, eons ago, back in 1970, people had used Kryptonite to make coins.

Feelings weren’t just reactions or responses. Feelings were reminders. When you’re little, everything around you is inscribed with a sort of brain bar code, a serotonin/dopamine I.D. that lets you know where you are. Poppies growing wild in my family’s garden tasted of the laughter that glittered off the grass when me and my brother wrestled amongst the weeds. The sidewalk beyond our steps tingled with the stinging thunder of my father’s voice that commanded I go no further than the curb. I remember tasting an engulfing fear whenever I so much as glanced at the wide, raucous street. I feared that I’d be eaten by the big metal boxes that rushed by faster than the licking of the wind upon my little face. I remember clenching my entire body into a fist as I watched the potato bug I had flung into the street explode beneath the tire of an Oldsmobile.

I don’t believe that these senses and experiences are buried memories of another time. ‘What once was shall never be again,’ is a silly phrase. My own father, 57 and still curious, exemplifies perpetual youth. Where my eyes see only weeds, my father spots a dandelion, plucks it like a feather from the grass, and whispers to me “ooh! Okay, now make a wish and blow.” My mother too, even when driving, throws her hand toward a rosebush and sighs, “look at that color! Doesn’t it make you melt?”

I hope one day, when the strife of adolescence is gone, I can relax into the blanket of my long white beard and capture every day the wonders of my own body, my own senses, my own feelings. True, it’d be nice to be young again, but if the intensity of true feeling reemerges over time, why not wait life out, and see what I find in the dust some day?