Dropping in on the Past
Dropping through the clouds, we break out over my hometown…Springfield, Virginia is place that I remember well, but it bears little resemblance to the young suburban community of the 1970s. We all have someplace that we think of as home…these hometowns are entrenched in our memories and we visit them each time we close our eyes and dream of our youth.
Sometimes visiting them in person is less comforting than our memories as the simple things that made our childhoods special may seem to have disappeared. The creek in the woods that we would dam while keeping an eye out for water moccasins now runs under a highway and the woods have been all but paved over. The streets are wider and small-town parades no longer move along them on holidays. Progress and a changing population have changed the physical and social nature of these old suburban neighborhoods. Before lamenting, I think to the moment I popped out of the bottom of the turbulent cloud above…the childlike excitement I found as I looked for my old school and the street where I lived…at that fleeting moment, I was reliving my childhood as if it were all contained in that single burst of emotion.
Although we may visit, we can never really go back to the hometowns we once knew…they exist only in our memories while the places we visit are just that. Time marches on and the gift of aging is that we are around to watch the changes and appreciate the simpler times that we remember…good deep grass stains that will never come out of the patches on my knees, the satisfaction of having climbed a tree, the warm patch of sunshine on my face as I gaze up at the passing clouds, and the thrill of hearing the rumble of a passing jet as it descends over my neighborhood and I dream of being at the controls.