Lesson From My Childhood ...
Usually, I talk to myself as if I'm having a conversation with someone else. Partly, that is a function of having an ear for dialogue. Partly, that is a function of wanting to control situations. And partly, that is a function of simply seeming less nuts.
But this morning, here in this early quiet and light, I started talking about where I grew up. Because of leaves.
The block on which I grew up contained homes differentiated only cosmetically. They were all the same bungalow – ours was slightly taller than the other house because my very smart mother had the builders lay extra courses of brick to raise the height of the basement because my father is tall – and owners added personality through accents. Mom had chosen three opaque green glass blocks – the color of jellied and sugared spearmint leaves – that were set vertically. They were visible inside the house only if you were in the master bedroom closet. Each one featured a minimalist leaf shape – or maybe they were just pointed ovals – and they were set to vary the patttern:
And part of the scrolled railing was painted to match, so our house was "green." Joyce and Shorty's house was "black" and Ava and Ed's house was "beige" and Sharon and Jim's house was "blue" and our house was "green" and on down the block they went.
But what I was really remembering was fall, and raking leaves, and how we kids would rake the leaves into a pile somewhat near the house, and then we'd climb the stairs, sling one leg over the railing and then the other, and turn ourselves to face the pile of leaves, hanging on to the railing behind us.
And what I was really, really remembering was how much time I stood there, deliberating.
Given the height of our house, my feet were at most six feet off the ground as I stood on our porch. But my view made the distance feel much greater. And I would stand there and consider the pile and whether it was really enough ot cushion me and I'd count. And I'd get to the end of my count and I wouldn't jump. So I'd count again.
Thinking about it now, I've spent a lot of my life on "One." I'm comfortable with "One." Maybe even "Two." "Three" is a scary place.
Eventually, I'd get impatient with even myself, and the count changed. It morphed from "One ... two ... three" into a hurried "Andaoneandaoneandaonetwothree."
Writing that just now makes me realize that I gave myself extra "Ones." The comfort of Ones.
Six feet, of course, is not very far down and so the time in the air was a second perhaps.
But this morning, what I'm really remembering is the feeling between the moment of deciding and the moment of letting go.
That moment is everything.
That moment after Three.
That is where I need to go.