It is spring in Australia. I love spring. Having lived in Europe, I can say that spring feels the same no matter where you are. There is inviting midday sunshine so dear to my skin, and there are odorous flower breezes at dusk, which simply beg to be followed to their source. And just like good memories, spring always comes around. There is certainty in seasons.
I was driving my older son to school this morning down a favourite street of mine. Tree-lined and wide, this avenue has been a good friend to me. I’ve admired it many a time over the past couple of years, in summer, in winter, in rain, and in sunshine. Mornings are special for the way sunlight plays with the massive leaf canvass made of hugging treetops above. There is comfort in this place. I have laughed and cried driving down this street. I laughed singing Bellamy Brothers’ Let Your Love Flow, which my boys love, and I cried when they cried in protest of having been awoken early and being dropped off for yet another long day at school and preschool.
For children and adults alike that which we grow familiar with brings us closer to growing fond of it. Was I particularly fond of clock-watching while running late in slow traffic, listening to children’s moodiness and yelling, and the occasional fender bender? No. But I have grown comfortable experiencing my life which is all these things too. As barren as it may sound, routine things we do are what most of us refer to when we speak of our ways of life. Most of our lives are made up of routines like sleeping, eating, washing, commuting, cleaning, and shopping. If time is only age deep, then the passage of age is the main point of reference we have to take note of time. As necessary as they are, calendars are arbitrary, but wrinkles on our faces, and adults whom we knew when they were children are true reminders of aging. And aging happens over time. So there is certainty in time too.
In the middle of my driving routine this morning I felt a sudden rush of tears to my eyes. I did not feel sad. I simply became aware of the passage of time. I imagined I had been 30 years older, taking a drive down this once favourite street of mine. I looked at the trees and familiar houses as I drove by. They looked different. There was a sheen of beauty in everything around me which I had somehow failed to pay attention to before. The huge old gum tree was flickering in the wind, taller than ever, its roots still creating a speed hump in the road. There was my older son’s primary school. He would be 37 by then. I wished that I had paid closer attention to my routine days 30 years ago. How distant and irrelevant seemed the slow traffic, the children’s moodiness and yelling, and the occasional fender bender. These thoughts from the future made me very aware of my present existence.
I smiled. There were tears of appreciation on my cheeks. I was happy with where I was just the way I was. I believed that in 30 years my drive down this road would fill me with joy knowing that I have lived each day of those 30 years in the full presence of everything my life was made up of. After all, it is not where you are, but how you are that matters.
Wow, you have such a simple, yet profound, way of putting things. It’s so true though. Easy to get mired in the routine, and not notice the beauty in it – until it’s lost to nostalgia. Thanks for the perspective.