Monday, February 4, 2013

So, I should probably write a letter

In elementary school, we always wrote letters to our 25 or 30 year old selves, but we never seemed to write the other way.

If I were to write to my 15 year old self, I wouldn't tell her of what is yet to come. I wouldn't tell her that in ten years, she will be living in a foreign country. I wouldn't tell her that on January 18th she would watch the sun peek his nose above the fronds of a palm tree in the middle of a Thai jungle. I wouldn't tell her that she will feel the tide rise and fall over her knees as she watches men scribble fiery epitaphs into the midnight sky. Their dance—her only reality in that moment. I wouldn't let her in on the secret that roosters do not crow to wake us up; they're too proud to let the other one have the last say. It's a communication of dominance--a strut of who is louder, therefore stronger. I wouldn't tell her the one on the left 100 meters down wins. I wouldn't tell her that the rays shifting through the leaves are God's shadow puppets, and we are meant to watch. I wouldn't tell her that she is a geological know-it-all due to her father's careful instruction--she has put those lessons safely away in the corners of her brain.

But, what I would tell her is to love. Love deeply and quickly. And, it is going to hurt. Life will hit her hard in the stomach. It will tear her apart. But, from that she will learn. I would tell her to be careful with her heart, but don't let her brain overtake it. I would tell her to calm the hell down and look at the world around her. The smallest blade of grass, as insignificant as it is to us, is shelter and home to the ant who lives under it. I would tell her to slow down and listen to the music which plays through the trees. I would tell her that Wisconsin trees sound of polka and fish fries. They smell of grandparents and memories. But, every tree sounds different. Some clap like castanets. Some bend and twist to unearthly music (not unlike Enya). I would tell her that the tree I am looking at as the sun rises in her paradise sounds of sweet honey and tastes like laughter.

But the last thing I would tell her is this: remember who you came from, remember what they taught you, and remember, dear Katie, remember to dream. Because in them, you will find peace.

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