I’ve always been fond of reminiscing about my past joys and pains and pleasures.
Recently, I have started a regimen of daily walks around my neighborhood. I’ve always enjoyed either walking or biking around here, but had gotten out of the habit over the last few years. You see so much more when you’re walking than you do driving by in your vehicle at 40mph with the radio blaring and the cell phone stuck in your ear.
I woke up this morning thinking about reminiscing. I was noting how much more we seem to enjoy doing this as we age. Everyone enjoys those nostalgia sites about the things we did, foods we ate, or the cars we drove around in back in the day. LilBambi posted an article about her first car and her love for her father on her blog recently. It reminded me of my tendency toward reminiscing as I walk the neighborhood.
You see, I was born and raised right here in this neighborhood, an older part of Tampa known as West Tampa. It actually was west back when it was first inhabited by the spreading Tampa populace of the late 1800s/early 1900s. Nowadays, Tampa goes much further west. I played in this neighborhood as a child. I made lifelong friends. I did stupid shit that only the fortunes of pure luck saw me through. In other words, I’ve lived my life here.
My schools are still in existence and in walking distance. I walked by my old elementary school just a couple weeks ago. I actually looked into the closed hallway doors (it was a Saturday) and saw the very classroom where 45 years earlier I had experienced my first day of school. That was a traumatic thing for me. HA! That’s a story for another time, though.
It don’t feel that I’m stuck in the past or anything like that, but reminiscing about those old times does bring on a feeling of comfortable warmth and pleasure. It’s like slipping your feet into an old and worn favorite pair of slippers. It’s like sitting with an old friend over hot coffee and laughing about those escapades of 40 years ago.
I feel fortunate to still be here in this place after all these years. A century or so ago, it was common for people to be born, raised, and spend their entire lives in one spot. Nowadays though, we are all nomads in a great diaspora. No one stays on the farm these days. It’s kind of sad. This is the reason no one knows their neighbors; families are dispersed, children stray off. We are a mobile society these days.
I’m an atheist, so you won’t catch me spouting birthday wishes for Jesus Christ around this time of year. However, I do feel that there is a spirit to this season. It’s a very old tradition. This time of year (the winter solstice) is a time of renewal and rebirth. It marks the time when the nights begin to get shorter and the sun stays in the sky longer. This has been a reason for celebration since our ancestors climbed out of the trees and began their own diaspora out of the Africa.
That spirit of the season has evolved into a spirit of celebration, togetherness, joy, family, etc. It’s a time when we should all be getting together to reminisce about the good times; a time of giving, and a time of forgiving. It’s not as easy to do that in this dispersed world of high tech communications and less real human interaction. Still, I would hope the spirit of the season finds you this year.
As for me… well, I’m done rambling for now. It’s time to go for a walk. 🙂
Image credits: Unknown. If you own the copyright to the classroom image above please contact the author so that corrections can be made.