Jumping into the baby blue Ford pickup, to ride out with Uncle Isaac and Aunt Gilly to Wolf Lake was always a welcome adventure. At seven years old, I had already figured out the beauty of catching fireflies in an empty mason jar. Trips out to Wolf Lake meant fiddling around with a fishing pole and braving putting a wriggly crawler on the hook.
Aunt Gilly would walk me along the trails in the woods, excitedly pointing out the difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and milkweed. I greatly enjoyed my souvenirs of curious stones and tiny shells, which I would place carefully into the pockets of my overalls. There they would stay, until they found their new home on the top of my hand-me-down dresser.
A lot of time has passed since those days. Memories of how I would stick my head or arms out of the window, to feel the air rushing past me as we zipped down highway 38, seemed so close yet distantly blurry. At middle-age, my pastime actions would probably be seen as archaic and risking a child’s safety. Scabbed knees and a little dirt, seem like a novel injury, compared to today’s child comforted only by the persistent stimulation of electronic devices.
Sometimes I think about how it’s been two decades, since Aunt Gilly and Uncle Isaac took the last train out of town. I wonder if their parents had fears or notions about them as children, reflecting on my own trepidation as a parent. Whenever I find myself perched on a bench, looking out at the water, curiosity calls to me.
Do we reflect on the memories of what is, or what we wished to have or be? Such is the nature of the reflecting pool.