Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Lake of a Summer Past

I love to read.  While I am a snob about what I read and what should be read, I at least still read.  While I used to never use the internet to read, I have found myself more and more reading and looking at other blogs.  Between the "digging of the internet crates" for music and reading non-stop (about a book a week, if I can), my time is filled up very much.

One of the constant blogs I read belongs to my cousin.  She is an excellent writer and hopefully I can find a way to be more concise in the direction of the writings I do like she is.  The other day I read her blog and it contained the following passage:

I feel like I've been floating in the middle of a vast lake. It's smooth as glass and the skies are clear at last, but I have no idea which direction I'm supposed to go, which section of shoreline I'm supposed to paddle toward.

When I read this, I never actually paid attention to what she was writing because it reminded me of a summer camp I worked at  during my college years.  During the summer, I had a blast but of course there were times when I was myself.  Myself in the sense that I felt out of place and unsure if I belonged.  I've always had self confidence issues with whether or not I was accepted into the social structure.  I have made myself very independent in life and that sometimes plays against my desires to belong.  I do the work and accept now that when I am there, I am accepted for being there.

As for the notion of a lake, during the summer at camp, I hung out with different people at different times.  I found a form of camaraderie with many different people. Then an event happened that made me question what I was doing.

The first was a skydiving trip.  I went with 11 other people into Canada on our day off and we went skydiving.  It was awesome.  We walked into the place and sat down for the instructional video.  All of the sudden, one of the jumpers walks in and asks who is having their jump video taped.  A couple of us did, myself included.  He announced that they had space for one jumper on the next plane, which was now.  Did anyone want to go?  Well, before I could say a word, someone volunteered me.  Then another joined in agreement.  How the hell did I get picked?  I didn't even offer myself.  Next thing you know, I agreed to the peer pressure and got up to go.  I hadn't even watched the video yet.  They gave me the paperwork saying that if I died during the jump, no one could sue.  Okay, all signed.  Then I walked into a side room and put on my jump suit.  The jumper gave me a 5 second class on what I was to do during the jump.  That was it.  Not even 5 minutes.  He asked me to show him what he had just demonstrated.  I did. (Fast learner, bad retainer).  He said "Lets go."  And off we went.  I went up an airplane with no one I knew.  It really made me upset, but I was more excited about jumping out a perfectly good airplane.  The guys on the plane laughed about my long hair and painted nails.  (The girls in our opposite cabin always played with my long red locks and would paint my nails.)  They were purple that day.  I got to the door and boom, out into the wide open blue.  Best experience of my life.  To this day.  When the plane landed, there were a bunch of my co-workers waiting for me to land.  They bombarded me with questions and were excited and all that jazz that comes with it.  I felt awesome.  But then at the end of the night when we all got back to camp, I questioned my involvement.  Everyone was asking questions about their experiences and the most common story had to do with the plane ride up.  Not the jump.  Not the fall.  Not the landing.  But the plane ride up.  They all got to jump with each other and chat and be nervous and scared and excited with each other.  You might think it's petty, but it mattered to me.  Mostly because no one I went up with I knew.  In the end, it robbed me of a bit of my trip.

During a time of the summer, I was sitting at the lake for my personal free time.  I had decided not to go anywhere for my day off and just relax for a bit.  I was reflecting on different things when I started to watch the lake.  So I wrote in my journal.  What I wrote about was my reflection on the lake.  Not my physical but personal one.  It went something like this:

"I notice that the water always comes to shore and washes away.  The trees and rocks and plants all stay where they are when the water comes.  When it leaves, the trees, rocks, and plants stay put.  The water then travels to the other side of the lake and 'meets' the trees, rocks, and plants on that side.  Those trees never see the other side of the lake.  They are content with being where they are.  They like being there.  The water though is always moving.  Do the trees ever notice that the water was there?  When it leaves, do the trees and rocks even realize that its left?  What impact does the water have on their lives?  How does the water feel happy?  It's always running from one side to the other and back again.  It goes around and around.  Appearing as if to say 'Hello.  What's up?'  But then, as soon as it's here, it goes away again.  As if looking for a place where the trees are happy to see it.  After staring at the lake, I realize that I am the water and everyone I know is the trees, plants, and rocks.  Do my friends realize the impact I've had when I'm here?  Do they look at me happy?  As if to say 'There's the water again.  It's great to see him.  Wish he would stay longer.'  Do they realize that I wish I was a tree, rock, or plant and just become rooted to a side?  I'm always traveling and it feels like it's just me, while the trees have the rocks and the plants with them always"

As I have gotten older and wiser, I have come to learn the person that I am.  I used to be jealous of people who had best friends for life.  I've never known someone for longer that 3 years straight.  With technology, I'm able to stay in touch with people more who live far away, but I'm horrible at it.  I've learned to embrace who I am.  Yes, I am the water.  I "drift" from one end to the other.  I enjoy the travel.  The freedom.  The experience.  The trees grow tall and can see for miles, but they'll never know what the other side is like.  I know that one day I will become a tree, but that day isn't now.  As for the skydiving trip, that took longer to learn who I was from that trip.  Who I was, and am, is the awesome person that most others wish they could be.  It goes like this: most people live their lives with a bit of trepidation.  They aren't sure if they can or can't.  They think they can, but only will once they see someone else do it first.  They nominate someone who they might think is lesser, but soon learn is greater.  Yes, I could have stood up for myself and said "No, I want to do the group thing," but instead I showed that I have no fear.  I will go up there and be brave, just to let you know that it's okay to do it yourself.  I know now to appreciate the times I share with others as opposed to being upset about the times I didn't.  Mostly because when I'm not there I'm seeing the other side of the world and the fun is in the return.

That's who I am.  I'm the water on the lake.

Oh, here's a picture of me and my skydiving instructor:

Aw hell yeah!!  Who wants to jump out of a good airplane?  I do!

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