It was only croquet, last night. A small game, and a simple thing, but we all laughed at each other, for none of us were really good at it. My brother made funny shots; one made the ball jump over the wicket instead of through it. He turned to me, and he smiled. And my heart ached when I saw him smile, for I saw all his youth —right before me, I saw our youth and a million memories, and how quickly it was going. I saw how happy we were, how young and inexperienced and naive, but happy because we knew the things we loved. Already, because I am noticing it, I am growing out of simplicity, into a complex future where there is less room for this funny, carefree life, where love will be challenged, and principles tested. And I prayed then that our youth would last as long as possible, like a dream that you know will end.
And now, I see other things. “I should have felt ‘the joy of grief'” as Keats would put it. I see a beauty in the struggle, a deeper enjoyment than could have been experienced. For our minds will expand and grow larger, able to adapt to the tribulations of living in this world. There is a beauty, a joy, and an adventure in learning new things. Leaving youth is saying goodbye to something you always knew and were used to. And however much you might want it all to stay the same, it must change, and I at least cannot help but take delight in the things the future brings.
There is this conflict, this irony about our lives. How we at once seek to be young and be grown up. How we wish to die, yet wish to be immortal. How we wish to order our own lives, yet be free from constraint and responsibility. There are smiles, laughs, a face that stays with you in your mind forever, an image that you never forget, even if it is disconnected from everything you know, like seeing the smile of someone you’ve never met, and will never see again. This is the beauty of memory, that even in life, the rush of life, there comes a quiet moment and a thought, and the memory itself, and it seems like time stops as you relive the memory, and you think: “I will always remember this.”
I think about people,
And the way they rush
I think about how they rush for the sake of rushing.
I think about foxes,
And how they dash through the woods,
Sneaky, daring, and scarlet red.
I think about the summer sun,
About the people it burns,
The people it warms,
And the cold dead who can’t feel it.
I think about the helpless dead
Who can do no more than they have done;
Who will never get a second chance.
They sing a strange song,
Silent like an autumn wind,
That makes its sound through the trees;
Their song lulls me when I sit
And consider the end.
The living become the dead.
The scarlet hair falls from the fox
Leaving his bare bones,
And God spins life on.
And there is no silence in the rush of life
We are forced out of grief
Forward into our lives,
And we cannot stop anything.