The Sunday Scribblings prompt is
"Dear Past Me, Dear Future Me."
You thought the world would last forever, didn’t you? You know that you yourself have lived forever, and in a way you are right. The true measure of objective time is your own lifetime. Santa Claus has visited you at least once (that you can remember), and he probably will come again sometime, you think. Now it is enough to sit on top of the woodpile in the warm sun, smelling green grass and creosote, listening to the buzz of bees.
Dear three-year-old Me,
Dear nine-year-old Me,
What a baby you were then! Santa Claus comes every year, now, about one-ninth of a lifetime apart. You have discovered books and reading, and you are torn between going down the street to play with Barbara and Warren or curling up with a volume of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia which Mama ordered from the door-to-door salesman (on the installment plan). You have worn out the page that has a picture of the planet, Mars, where you intend to go someday. Nights full of stars fill you with a sense of mystery. You intend to be an astronomer or a patriot.
Since you skipped a grade in school, you are studying fifth-grade American history, and you intend to be Nathan Hale, saying, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Maybe you will be a soldier. Intellectually you know that death is final, but your body still knows that it will live forever.
Dear twenty-year old Me,
Here you are on the way to marry Otto, packed with your brother in the back seat of Miles, the Chrysler, on the way to Stillwater, Oklahoma. You cross the Colorado River by moonlight, and you can’t believe the coincidence as you sing, “When there’s moonlight on the river Colorado, I’ll be coming back, sweetheart, to you.” You long ago gave up any idea of being a soldier. It was when you were told that soldiers didn’t just die for their country, they had to kill for it too.
Last year at Stanford you helped found the Palo Alto Peace Committee. Someday in the future you think you will be an artist - or a poet - or a psychologist.
Marrying Otto will prove to be the wisest thing you will ever do.
Dear future Me,
Now that I have almost reached the age of 88 years, and still sentenced to that objective sense of having lived forever, the years flip past at an accelerating rate, and I hardly put away the Christmas decorations from one year until it is time to take them out again. So I will extrapolate, dear future Me, and tell you that every year will be shorter than the one before. There will be an increasing dread hanging over every day of sparkling world and loving marriage. It will not be because you fear your own death (and you find nothing fearsome about it ) but that it is inevitable that Otto and you will be separated sometime soon by death. You can’t imagine a world without Otto. Maybe it is best expressed by one of my poems that I have posted before:
The Old Lovers
Asleep, their bodies rest as spoon to spoon
or else are pressed together spine to spine.
One of them dreams a night of summer moon
when firm young bodies meet and intertwine.
One dreams they climb a trail in blazing noon,
leap boulders, savor scent of fir or pine,
gaze down on unknown lands they’ll travel soon,
their years before them in an endless line.
They dream apart, but each dreams they’re together.
They drowse then turn and waken face to face,
illusion’s threads unravelling seam by seam.
They touch the dear soft flesh of one another
then almost desperately the two embrace
fearing that one might soon hold only dream.