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March 26, 2018
A few days ago someone posted an old aerial photo from the late 1950’s of Wausau, WI. on Facebook. Much was recognized. Nostalgic, comes to mind.
It was an evocative image of childhood. Being twelve years old at the time one was not concerned with how an image like that might later influence a writing like this. Children, even those on the cusp of teen years are involved in right now. In this moment.
One could say it flushed the mind, bringing back memories of those years. Not exactly. Wausau was younger then, in many ways, still flexing its bulging muscles of industry, growth, and expansion. This youth, like most of us then, was exploring the vitality of the times and embracing life with wonder, joy, trepidation, and eternal thoughts of ‘this will always be.’
Surprise! Sixty years later, a circle of life, has revolved, evolved, and transformed all of our lives into something we never thought possible. How many of us might want to return, in a Twilight Zone moment, to those days? Yes, and a resounding no.
Looking at that posted image, one did recognize many buildings, places, and features of our quaint existence. It spurred only a partial urge to build a time machine, suck back into a memory, throwing a penny for your thoughts into a wishing well, and be there. Must be too many steps have been marched away from that life.
Those years of growth were a great moment in this life. They were also a fulcrum, launching this individual into a different world, a universe, like our own, continually expanding, reaching out, exploring obtuse and acutely different ideas. Some ideas completely foreign to Wausau, to this writer, to former classmates, friends, and relatives.
It was a moment when time stopped, if only for that fractional slice of eternity. Unlike many high school classmates whom I envied, higher education in the form of college was too intimidating. A different path opened its urgent door. An unexpected opportunity occurred, and this passage took its Towle. No regrets there.
So began a wandering and wondering how one might navigate in a world with knowledge and ideas that seemed unfathomable. Rote teachings were cast off, and this new ocean of knowledge was embraced. Though the raft of life one clung to was precarious it stayed afloat, and when a 35 birthday reached its time a realization struck, like a ship’s bell clanging.
One item, thank you again Sue Arnold, picked up its pace. Writing continued, though somewhat stop and start, it clung to this mind like a virus, breaking out when least expected. Besides being sober, writing probably retained whatever sanity there is contained within this spirit.
After Air Force time, one took a deep breath and photo school schooled a profession that suited this personality. There is a copious amount of gratefulness oozing these pores for this occupation. Never acquired suitable income, though peace of soul caressed this life. Not everyone loves what they do.
That image of Wausau? Ticked other images and brought a longing for different memories and choices not made. No one will ever convince this writer some choices bring no regrets. However, it is a look we all take at one time or another. Standing at the edge of life after all of our adventures there is always a: “what if...?”
This path to different knowledge has been a grateful search which continues until the last breath. Every corner turned, every doorway passed through, every new idea is welcome. It does not mean embracing all of them. One may entertain these nuggets without ingesting.
If anyone ever asks: “What’s the most important thing you know?” ‘Never stop learning,’ comes to mind, because; The more you know, the less you know.
I am grateful for your visit. Thank you.