I was in the military in 1949. Back when buses drove through dust to reach a destination. I remember looking out the window as my family turned to specks, hidden in the whirling dirt. I felt a knot in my stomach tangle my thoughts, scared of who I was to become. I was ready to become a changed man but knew I would miss the summer air, knew it would haunt my senses. I would miss the river by the quarry, and the tire swing. I would miss the feeling of soaring through twilight before crashing into rippling blue water. Friends cheering. Crickets chirping. I would miss the drive-in theater, the array of cars full of teenage lovers learning how to feel. I would miss the sound of my screen door slamming shut, the ethereal calm of a summer night and its symphony of nocturnal sounds- coos of owls and barks of dogs. I would miss my mother calling into the ether to come home for dinner, the smell of apple pie wafting through the windows. I knew I’d miss my friends, the camaraderie of a group traversing down a city street. I’d miss it all. But most of all I’d miss the feeling. That indescribable feeling of freedom, of immortality. The feeling that days had no divides but simply bled into one another like the waterfall in the forest, the running water meeting the purple pond and becoming one. That wholeness.
As I stared out the window, at the flying dust, at my disappearing family, I shed a single tear.”