Recently, Clarence at Can You Hear Me Now recalled his youthful passion for roller skate dancing:
“…something I became proficient at during my twenties and thirties. If only it were possible to go back for just one more evening of dancing on skates with an accomplished partner. Man! That would be something else.”
As the years go by, activities, hobbies, games, sports and other pleasures we once took part in drop out of our busy lives in favor of kids, work and different pursuits. Sometimes, the opportunity is no longer available for one reason or another or we lose interest or, less frequently I think, we are no longer capable of doing it.
Usually we don’t know, on the day it happens, that we have done a certain thing for the last time. Later, we remember how much we once liked – oh, water skiing, for example, and wonder why we stopped.
Although I don’t dwell on this, it interests me to think there are things I may already have done for the last time and, since I appear to still be alive, I don’t even know it.
At first, the idea pierces my heart reeking, as it does, of the end being nigh. On further thought, however, I find that it would be good, if I could know I would never do that thing again, to mourn it a bit, to light a candle for its passing out of my life or, in some circumstance, to send it on its way with a hug and kiss and perhaps a little party.
I would certainly throw a bash for having my teeth drilled if I could be certain it will never happen again.
Here are a few things I sometimes wonder if I have already done for the last time:
- Swim naked in a secret stream on a hot summer day
- Dance the tango (if I still know how)
- Drive down the highway in a convertible at 100 miles an hour with Joe Cocker’s Cry Me a River blasting at full volume the CD player
- Make love
- Walk the beach alone in northern Oregon at 6AM
- Walk Greenwich Village streets in a blizzard
- Read all of Shakespeare’s plays
- Visit London, Paris and the towns in the hills above the southern coast of Spain
If I have done these things for the last time, I would like to light a candle for them on their anniversaries each year – if only I knew the dates. In place of that – until next time – I will remember them, for as Madeleine L’Engle wrote:
"I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be...This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages...but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide…”
- - A Circle of Quiet