Love of Life

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I often wonder at the idea of such a thing, something that everyone claims to have known. Couples cling to the word, like if they forget it they will lose it. Parents apply it in the same way they would a blanket, something to cover all, with no question as to why or what. Writers write it, singers sing it, and artists portray it all with the belief that no one will question what they are doing; for fear that they themselves would be accused of not knowing what love is. The whole world goes around because of it, but no one can definitely define it.

My opinion on the matter matters little, as all my evidence, reasoning, and feelings are based on little more the 16 years on this earth, and the meandering experiences that took place there. In full evidence to that I recently had an awakening of sorts.

All my life my grandparents have had an active role in almost everything I do. Even if their only involvement is being able to sit down and talk everything over with them. When I go to their house, time stops. Everything remains the same. There are slight differences here and there, but the place ultimately remains unchanged. And when I enter that house, their domain where time himself dare not go, I become: 8 years old, enjoying the comfort of hot chocolate; 10 years old, watching a classic spaghetti western with an old man who is really just a kid my age in another body; 11 standing staring out the window, waiting for my mother to return and tell my daddy’s all right; 13, as a calm woman explains to her lost grandchild that sometimes parents don’t always stay together; 14, laughing with my grandfather as he learns the controls of a new age entertainment; 16, sharing my new secrets with a woman who has seen more in this world then all the books of heaven and earth could even begin to compare to; 17, as I stand and marvel at how short my life has really been.

All this and more passed through my head as I wandered out into the rear field, hardly more than half an acre of land behind their house that has through the ages been a fantastic land of dragons, a war scared battle field, and a place where peace can be found simply by closing one’s eyes and stepping away from it all. In this place of Zen there is a tree, one that till this evening I haven’t touched or even thought to climb in 6 years. I walk towards it, as if called by a force far greater than me.

The last time I had attempted to scale its forbidding heights I had been small, barely able to touch its lowest hanging branch. My grandfather had picked me up and helped me on my first few steps. Now I stand chest level with its first limb. I need no help jumping and pulling myself up onto its powerful branches, quickly I scale its bark covered arms, and hug its rough eternally living trunk. The steps all come back to me, where to put my foot, how to bend past one brought and slide up another, it’s all different now. My movements are stronger, that once vast leap is nothing but an extended step; yet at the same time, I’m 10 years old, scared to look down.
I reach the top of the tree, or as far as the branches will hold me, and look out across the mountains in the sunset, the darkness slowly creeping over the houses to the east, and the waves of red, mingling in each other, tempting blues and purples to dance where they may. All centered around the vanishing sun.

In this moment I relive my entire life. All the sadness, shame, fear, all drag me down while my triumphs, my small grasps at happiness, and the few moments of true acceptance lift me up. My memories take the form of a movie, and all the sounds are emotions, giving depth and reason to it all. My inner artist basks in the symbolism that this can hold, my romantic side screams for another to share this with, my inner solace steps back from it all and projects one simple idea. Something that I’ve searched, begged, and clawed for my entire life. This is love.
Love is no more than being able to look back and say, this is good. They say love means time, it does. It requires the time to be understood. They say love is understanding, it is. It’s the ability to grasp that it in itself is good. They say love is connection, it is. It’s the connection of the good to life.
So I climb from my tree, back down to the ground below. No different on the outside, no special mark on my being, no magical powers, and no butterflies gracing my clothes. On the inside I return to the earth with an understanding, one that may only last me a short time, but an understanding none the less, of love.





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