Summer is full of memories. Remember when the beginning of summer felt like the best thing that had ever happened in your life? Remember the anticipation of THREE whole months with no school, nothing to do but eat ice cream and watch cartoons and stay in bed as long as you wanted? Of course it didn’t take long before you were bored out of your mind, right? But that anticipation, that’s what I think of when I hear “summer.”
And what says summer more than anything to me, is when the russian olive trees start blooming. There was one in our neighbor’s yard when I was growing up. It always bloomed around the same time that school let out, and the pool was ready to be filled, and summer was at its best. That heady sweet smell will forever remind me of childhood summertime. This tree is an invasive species in my area, so the city does its best to try and control them. But they spread undaunted. And every year the air is full of that heavy perfume. And my inner child wants nothing more than to swim and watch Wile E. Coyote chase the road-runner another fruitless time.
In that same vein, RebelleSociety.com published another of my short articles. It’s about things we lose as children, or thought we lost. But they lie waiting, waiting to be remembered and regained. I hope you enjoy it, comments always welcome!
Update: I recently found out that, due to some changes to Rebelle’s site, my article isn’t available any longer through this link. So, for anyone who would like to read it, here is a copy of the original, minus some small edits that Rebelle made when they published. Hope you enjoy, and as always, feel free to drop a comment or question. And by the way, this was written for a mostly-female audience, hence the use of “princess” and other feminine terms. But I’m not anti-men, not trying to leave any princes out of the story. Feel free to substitute what works for you.
Paradises Lost, Sanctuary Found
Innocence and joy, heartbreak and betrayal, falls from grace and those few perfect, achingly brief moments that seem to flutter away as soon as they arrive. No matter how perfect the paradise, it seems the world can’t hold one shape for long. And each shattering takes a little piece of you with it.
Each of us is a princess of a paradise lost, and we wander through the ruins, trying to piece together the shards back into the shapes we remember. Sometimes the weeds are so overgrown, treasures seem lost forever.
How is it so easy to forget the riches of our own souls? Other things, we are told, are more important, more relevant to real life. We throw away jewels because someone told us they were glass. In return, society loads us with trinkets, poor consolation prizes for all we gave up. And yet those baubles and how many of them we can accumulate, become our definition of value, of status and whether or not we have achieved an acceptable measure of success.
But, sometimes, in the middle of the night or after some part of our cardboard castle falls away, all the baubles seem worthless and we hear the forlorn voice within, still seeking the treasure beyond price that she lost. Can you hear her, as she stands in the ruins neglected for so long, calling out one word, just one name. Your name.
She’s seeking you, that lost and grieving child, begging you to remember her, remember the days of laughter and sunshine, remember when the starry sky was full of more wonders than you could hold. Remember the breaking, remember that first, heart-rending howl of loss, confusion, fear. Come hold me, she whispers. I need you. Please come home.
And when she tells you in that sad little voice how she’s hurting, please be gentle. Whatever you do, do not tell her “It doesn’t matter.” Don’t belittle her pain or her joys. What seems insignificant to you, may shatter her world, or mend it. When she no longer has to feel shame at her loss, the wounds start to heal. When she is no longer embarrassed at her own exuberance, sparks of eternal soul will spring to life in her eyes. When she is free to love what she loves, when giggles ring out for no reason at all, the ruins blossom.
The treasure she lost, is love. Hers, yours. Somewhere along the way, she was persuaded to give it up, and isn’t sure it’s hers to claim anymore. Can you give it back? You know right where she hid it, deep in the rubble where she hoped no one would look. Tell her it’s safe now, it’s safe to own her heart. And if she can trust your strength, no one will take it from her again.
Let the princess reclaim her kingdom, and delicate beauty will grow in the ruins, in the fertile soil of their brokenness.