Gotta Keep Moving; The Puzzle I Am to Myself

The 747’s engines roar to life. I raise the window shade and peer out at the flatness of DFW International Airport. The plane throttles forward and lifts from the runway. I leave the ground. I leave home, museum of my childhood, repository of first memories, first loves, first losses, the place where tiny fragments of me dangle from tree limbs I once climbed as a boy or rest alongside beloved scaly pets I buried in the yard.

Sometimes I feel like I’m smeared across time and space, scattered among people I’ve known well or barely spoken to. I forget myself sometimes, then a person or an object from the past jogs my memory. They tell me who I was with a knowing look or a trivial comment: “Gotta keep moving,” says Jon from elementary school, referring to one afternoon seventeen years ago when we played H-O-R-S-E together in my driveway. He had to sink a fade-away jump shot or else incur an ‘R’. “Gotta keep moving,” I said to Jon that day as he turned toward the basket and sent the ball gliding through the hoop.

Now, with that one statement, Jon hands me a piece of the puzzle I am to myself, and I remember. I remember that we were once twelve, he and I, and I feel the zest and confusion of that age. I’m twelve again. I’m twelve and I’m twenty-nine and many ages besides. And for a moment, that somehow makes sense.

“Gotta keep moving.”

I think I was somewhat younger than twelve in this picture, but only somewhat.

*I’m stealing away to Puerto Rico Thursday.  I hope to come back with something mildly interesting to share. 🙂  It would be hard to top the random experiences I had in Costa Rica last March with a group of  Harvard MBAs I became attached to. 

About atomsofthought
Photographer. Traveler. Writer. Reader.

13 Responses to Gotta Keep Moving; The Puzzle I Am to Myself

  1. Hi Nick –

    I can’t count the amount of games of HORSE I played in my driveway and courts in the neighborhood. It must be well into the hundreds and hundreds. It’s amazing more, the amount of mischief that stemmed from those game-after-game days. Something else always soon followed…like those bull frogs, for example. Heading down to the river was one of our things to do also. This really is a very good post. 🙂

    • I miss playing HORSE! It’s kind of a peaceful way of competing… not intense like playing 21, but still competitive. I remember the conversations my friends and I had better than the games themselves. And you’re so right–they could go on and on, even when the sun had set and we shot blindly at the basket.

      Thank you for commenting!
      Nick

  2. skippingstones says:

    “Now, with that one statement, Jon hands me a piece of the puzzle I am to myself, and I remember. I remember that we were once twelve, he and I, and I feel the zest and confusion of that age. I’m twelve again. I’m twelve and I’m twenty-nine and many ages besides. And for a moment, that somehow makes sense.”

    I love, love, love this.

    🙂 And I’m a little pissed that you say it so well! You’ve taken some of my own feelings/experiences and explained them so much better than I have ever done.

    By the way, I met a customer who is here on a VISA from Costa Rica, maybe a day or two after I read about your vacation there. She was so lovely and friendly, and I couldn’t help but think about your descriptions. I told her, “I hear that it’s just beautiful there,” and she proceeded to tell me just how wonderful it is. Of course I needed to know why on earth she came here. (“needed to know”, LOL, but kind of true. It would have bothered me if I didn’t ask her everything time and her patience would allow for.) I would have asked her questions anyway, but it is interesting how everything circles around like that. It’s like drops in the water, with all the ripples intersecting and overlapping all the time. I had your impressions in my head while I was talking to her, and it definitely influenced my half of the conversation and my interest in it. I’m looking forward to hearing about Puerto Rico. Have fun and be safe!

    • Thank you, Michelle! “It’s like drops in the water, with all the ripples intersecting and overlapping all the time.” That states things PERFECTLY 🙂 I’ve come to enjoy blogging quite a bit. I blogged in my early twenties, but it was different then. I found it more difficult to connect with people outside of my circle. That challenge has diminished quite a bit.

      I’ll take copious notes in Puerto Rico! And I’ll be safe 😉

      Nick

  3. I have an essay project annually with different themes. 2012 will be a theme of Essays on Childhood: Boys to Men, or maybe Essays on Childhood: A Man’s Voice. The focus will be to encourage more men to write about childhood experience. I truly hope you will be a part of the project next year. The website is http://www.essaysonchildhood.com. I willl reach out to you again closer to the time of the new theme to see if you are interested!

  4. Reawakening how you viewed the world as a child can be a very good thing to do. We get too set in our ways, we see things without really seeing them anymore. A fresh perspective is a necessary thing every so often.

    • I agree! We lose that habit we had as kids of latching onto everything that passes in front of us. The older I get, the more automatically I categorize things, so that eventually I miss what’s special about them entirely. Not good! It helps to remember how I saw the world when I was younger.

  5. Pingback: “The Puzzle I Am to Myself” – Writing on Childhood Experience & Identity | Essays on Childhood

  6. Bev L says:

    Thanks for the kind comments on my blog

  7. Chuck Wentworth says:

    I enjoyed this. I too can relate to how it feels to have memories that are so vivid you can almost taste them, come rushing back at you. It’s a strange thing, getting older…

  8. Cleaning out my “Like” box on WordPress and read this one again – still wonderful. I found myself wanting to comment and when I scrolled down, of course I already had…and I’d basically said the same things I’m thinking this second time around. Your words are very poignant.

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