September 9, 2003

Trent Reznor may have written it, but great gravity exudes from every note and rest of Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. At first, the quake in his voice might seem to signify deteriorating vocal chords, a weakness that comes with old age; but listen closer. Every tremor gives a sense of experience; of life-long reflection; of years upon years of rough epidermal tissue, accumulating like the bark of a tree– building girth and strength. His roots and trunk run sturdy and deep, obstinate to the changing world; while his outermost limbs have been whipped and whittled by the wind into switches, pliable enough to sting in foul weather. His face is set as a stone embankment eroded and crevasse-d by centuries of lunar driven tides.

I often wonder what I’ll look back on when I’m older. What I’ll have learned, what I’ll wish I could have changed, if only I knew now, or better yet, last week or last year. That’s one reason why I don’t mind sitting in on our Board of Directors meetings. I enjoy hearing how experience has taught these people to handle situations in hopes to siphon some of their hard-earned sagacity to infuse with my youthful energy and naiveté. Perhaps they’ll let slip the recipe to a tonic that will sooth and enrich the whirlwind years between rocking-the-night-away and rocking-on-the-porch. I see their care-worn faces as they churn information intently before finally speaking their minds.

I want depth in my eyes, great gravity in my joy as well as sorrow and the ability to appreciate long pauses in conversations while the participants mull it over, while I mull it over– savoring every morsel, carefully choosing every consonant and vowel, caressing them, preparing them to slide ever so melodically from my lips. I want to start absorbing these abilities now, drawing from the surrounding wells of knowledge with which I have been blessed. I don’t want to look back at “what if” or “if only.” It’s like an Italian saying a friend of mine told me that translates to something like: If the young new and the old could. I could use some pruning and thicker bark for the winter. Let’s start with the low tide and work our way up to high. I’m finally ready for the growing pains; finally open to learning. I want to know while I can.