It seems to me we can
never give up longing and wishing
while we are thoroughly alive.
- George Eliot
When I was a girl, I always imagined myself growing up to be somewhat like this: I'd have long, wavy chestnut hair. I'd wear jeans with fraying back pockets and soft shirts - checked shirts -with buttons. I'd always have, I thought, a picnic table under an umber-colored oak. Whenever anyone came by my house - a cottage with extra chimneys - I'd have a book in one hand and a sweet apple in the other while my faithful pony, dog, and chickens stood alongside. The pony would be called Helen (after the old lady at church that looked like a horse), the dog Clever Trevor, and the chickens would simply be known as the minions of Cluckingham Palace. I would also, I imagined, have very white teeth and cranberry-painted fingernails and would sing and laugh a lot. Children would clamour around like me like I was the Pied Piper come to life.
And last, but certainly never least, I'd have a rusty old blue truck... or Jeep... with a static-filled radio that played Patsy Cline and the Beach Boys.
I'd forgotten all about it - all about who I was supposed to grow up to be - until I rounded a corner in Mexico this month and was met with this. This scene. It wasn't exactly deja vu... not really. It was more like a surge of wishes that flooded my brain and heart, simultaneously, with all the sparkly, staticky imaginings I'd had as a girl. My breath caught up within me and my heart began pounding as suddenly - all so suddenly - I thought of Helen the horse and white teeth and Patsy Cline.
I looked down. I had on frayed jeans. Red fingernails. Long brown hair. In my pocket was a small green apple and on my lips was a hymn I've sung since forever.
My gosh. I am one pony, dog, chicken, picnic table, blue truck and crowd of children away from being the girl I always thought I would be.
It seems to me, too, that we never can give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. George was right. Not as long as enough days pass to realize that we are, in fact, pieces of who we once thought we'd be. Even if only in a frayed jeans type of way.
Of all my moments on the lam this month, this was my favorite: the moment I rounded the corner and saw that blue Chevy. I met myself in Mexico. I remembered myself again. For that - and for so many other things - I will always be thankful. Thank you, Lord.