The Summer of 1995

As time passes, the days of childhood wonderment grow ever fondly. Sidewalk chalk. Slip ‘n Slides. Forts. Forts were built of pine needle beds and prairie grass curtains, trips to the cabin were prized above all other things. Baseball games were a favorite, and gardening with Grandpa was an almost daily time pass. My personal favorite was the creation of Dandelion Soup.

The objective was simple enough, create a delicious soup from any and all wildlife. The prized ingredient, however, was dandelion stems. First, you pluck the flowery top from its body. Be careful; pinch and cut the stem between your dirty fingernails at the base of the neck to ensure maximum use. Second, cut the rest of the stem in that same fashion, but from its roots. Third, take your fingernail and beginning at the top, peel a section of the stem away. The thinner the better. Each portion will curl into a tiny snail shell with every slice of your finger. After the stem is completely divided, sprinkle over the top of your soup for a delightful presentation. Dab dandelion buds to your skin to dress for the occasion, wild child.

Dandelions will always remind of my youngest sister. With the least bit of practicality within her, she fancies dandelions. A weed. The enemy of your All-American picket fence lawn. It makes sense; she, like the dandelion, has always felt misunderstood by her surroundings.

I reflect on these glory days as I enter adulthood. These past months have been… Extreme highs. And lows. Doubt beyond measure. Full of hope. But heartbreaking too. I reflect on those days because the changes within still feel heavy and bulky, not natural and real. And it’s when I feel like this that little Teresa comes to my mind.

Little Teresa did what she wanted. No sister could hassle her into playing dress-up (with a few precious exceptions when she was feeling generous). At recess, she daydreamed the time away, unamused by classmates. Animals were considered the best company (how she longed to be a lion.) She was herself, and apologized to no one.

It’s that last part that stings the most (today).

We all evolve with time, and hopefully, we hold onto the parts of ourselves that help us the most. I think of Darwin and his theory of evolution; only the living creatures that were able to adapt to their environment lived to prosper and even reproduce. But for today, and the next, and the one after that, I’ll keep revisiting that fearless part of myself (for my future being depends upon it.) And if there comes a time when I cannot, (for surely, this is a guarantee), there are a few things that sustain this soul-searching fool. And you can bet that Pink Floyd and Nature are involved.

“I am a human being first, a musician second, and a cellist third.” -Pablo Casals.

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