Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Don't Know

A small state park just outside of my hometown has paths and trees for walking and wandering any time of year. I’m not really one for that kind of stuff, except for every now and then, when I am. It’s usually the first of spring when the walking and wandering happens. I get this feeling that I want to be in the world again. Can’t say exactly what kicks up the wanderlust. I don’t know. I just know something does.

When I was young, I’d usually break out my bicycle and ride to rediscover my neighborhood. The feel of the bike tires on the empty street pavements would keep me going, moving, pushing forward, feeling the world. I’d be looking for little changes that I’d not noticed before. Of course, I didn’t know that, but I would see them−a house that changed colors since the last time I’d passed that way, a tree that had bloomed with tiny white flowers, the sidewalk that was painted pink and white in squares. In fourth grade 21 bricks were missing in the brick road three streets over from where I lived−that was in front of Glenn Weigle’s house only.

I suppose it makes sense that I still get that spring feeling to greet the world again. The surprise is that I found myself in that state park outside the town where I grew up. Why I drove all of the way there I don’t know.

That particular park isn’t one that holds any charm for me. My family never held an event or a picnic there. I think I’d only been there once or twice before−maybe in college with a boy in car. Certainly nothing I remember well. I just can’t say why I went there. I don’t know.

But there I was, walking paths new, yet strangely familiar, as if I’d seen them in some place, some dream before. I was breathing in spring and thinking of nothing. That’s how the spring looking-around ritual works. Then I walked into this magic fairy tale of place. It was wishing well in the middle of a fork in the walking path I was on. So many people I knew had been to this park, and no one had ever mentioned this bit of it, not once. That puzzled me. People usually hear about such things when they’re growing up.

I decided to make friends with this spot. I felt like I had missed knowing it and needed to now.

I sat down by the wishing well to watch the trees grow. It was a good feeling not to worry about anything but watching and seeing. I don’t know where my mind went, but it went somewhere. And I didn’t mind at all, even though it was gone for what must have been quite a while. I enjoyed some sort of Rip Van Winkle rest in time next to that wishing well. I don’t recall making a wish, but I sure remember feeling well. It was as if the sunlight came through trees to see me, the same way it came through my bedroom window when I was a little girl. What’s not to like about spring in a world like that?

Why hadn’t I come to this park before? I don’t know.

All at once I was filled with so much energy, I had to get up. It dawned on me that I hadn’t explored the wishing well. I looked down into the depths. It was dark down there. I said hello and heard my own voice answer back. I asked myself, if I say hello in the forest and I’m the only one to hear . . . Then I asked myself, if I tell a joke in the forest . . . Oh, heck with that I thought, I know I’m here.

I found my way out of the park like I had landed the best job in the universe and won the lottery. It was the fireball of energy someone once said I was. I got in my car and threw in some driving music. I drove all the way home singing along with songs from my college days. I wasn’t ready yet to break the feeling.

When I got home, I called my best friend, Annie. She knows that park better than anyone. I told her what happened there.

She said, “What wishing well?”

I asked her why we’d never gone to that park before.

She said, “I don’t know.”

Next spring, will I find that wishing well again?

That I know. I will.
−me strauss Letting me be


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the Guinevere poem - was left wondering how many times the Arthur legend has played out throughout history.


ME Strauss said...

Thanks E,

Have you read The Once and Future King? It really is my favorite of the Arthur Legends. It's a boy's book. It leaves the others in the dust.

dsnake1 said...

Hi Liz,
an evocative article. something magical has drawn you back to the state park. sometimes solitude, or moments of quiet by yourself, can energise a tired soul.

I used to (and still do) cycle to a bike track some distance from my place, on weekends after a week of hectic days. after a couple of laps around the course, and stopping to look at the plants and birds and beetles, the body may be tired, but the mind is fresh.

thanks for the read. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Dsnake,
I do so love to hear how you read what I write and learn from what you say about it. I was a magical moment and a magical place indeed. I thing you 're right--our soul knows when we need them and we go to where they are. We we do we feel refreshed like we have just breathed real air.

Anonymous said...

> Have you read The Once and Future King?

No, but I remember that some of my earliest reading was about Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table. I guess it's required reading for all boys in our culture.

ME Strauss said...

Hi E.
If you like Arthur. I recommend it highly. It's THE story by T.H. White. It's the one you know in your head that you keep wanting to hear more details about.