(What if we could go back and meet ourselves at crucial junctures? What would we say?)

Hey. Hi! You’re sitting on my rock. Am I? My apologies. If you’re willing to share, there’s room enough for both of us. So, this is your rock. Is this your stream too? Yeah, well, no, I mean it is sort of but it isn’t. I can’t own it, I can’t take it with me or anything, but I look after it, take care of it. You know? Only too well. There was a time in my life, in a city not unlike this one where there was a place that was ‘mine’ like that too. I patrolled it regularly, even places no one else would go, pulled snares, put out campfires, removed tons of garbage. At times it never seemed to be enough. That’s what this place is like! I mean, look at it! It’s so beautiful but people think they can just come and throw their garbage here and it’s okay. It isn’t! No, it’s not okay, but unfortunately people don’t know. Or don’t care, but I prefer to believe that they just don’t see it.

Do you come here a lot? Yeah, sometimes. It depends. I’ve been out there. I didn’t like it. Mostly I come here now instead. Out there? You mean on the streets. I’ve been out there too. I didn’t much like it either. I learned all the wrong things, like how to hate instead of how to love, how to fight instead of how to share, how to be tougher than anyone else, just so they’ll leave you alone and not pick on you. How to walk the edge, being inside the group just enough to belong, but outside as well, with your own ideas. Something like that? Wow. Exactly. I mean I was just a quiet kid, doing my own thing, but they wouldn’t leave me alone. It was like being different made me a target, and they had the right to decide it for me. I didn;t like it, but I had to go along with at least some of it. It was the only choice left. I tried, I really did, but it just wasn’t me. Not on the inside. It isn’t really ‘anybody’, not on the inside. Some people hide it better than others. Some hide it so well they forget who they really are.

So now you come here instead? Yeah. I like it here. It’s quiet and nobody bothers me much. Sometimes others come here, but they don’t know how to see so I don’t let them see me. It’s pretty easy, mostly. Yes, it surely is. Sit 10 feet off the trail and people will walk right past. Sometimes I wonder what they do see, but I guess everyone has their own reasons for being here, whether or not they realize it. So, what do you see? No, you’ll laugh. I can promise you I will not. Well, sometimes I see what’s here, and sometimes I see what isn’t. What’s missing. Sometimes I think I can see what used to be here a long time ago. Before there were houses. Sometimes I worry what will happen to this place after I’m gone. Gone? Yeah, I mean, not right away. It’s just that in a few years I’m going to finish High School and then I’m going to have to do something else.

And that would be? I don’t know yet. Haven’t got it all figured out. What would you like to do? Well, I like a lot of things, but I dont think I could get a job with them. You know, things like art, music, writing, poetry . . . I feel like I have all of this stuff inside me, like I’m going to explode. So let some out. Yeah, but who’d listen? Doesn’t matter a wit. Don’t do it for someone else. Don’t do it for anyone else. Do it for you. Do it because you can’t not do it. Do it because it drives you to do so, enthralls you, fills you up, carries you forward. Do it to breathe, to live. If anyone else needs to see it, to read it, to hear it, they’ll find you. Write to the trees, the grasses, the flowers. Make music with the breeze, with the ripples. Play the waterfall. Paint the sky with your imagination. Dream. Dare to be. Sounds like taking an awful lot of chances. What if it doesn’t work out? So? So you lived! So you wrote the lyrics of your Self! So you opened your eyes and illuminated the world with your light! So you pulled and tugged the tangled strands of your existence and wove them into a tapestry of Being! So you tried. And you might succeed, but if you refuse to try you have failed already, automatically. So what’s the difference? The difference is quite simple. You can’t see it reflected in someone else. You can’t find it deposited in some bank. The difference will be in the opened petals of your soul. You will see it in the completeness of You. Others will see it too, and will want it for themselves but will not know where to look. Few will begin the search within themselves. A few more may stumble on the path early in their journeys. All will come to it in time.

So what about you? What do you do? Me? I create things. Sometimes I create tangible things, like a house or a chair. Next I’ll create a thought, then translate it so others can understand. Or I’ll create a dream, adding just enough colour to wish it into appearing. Always I create memories . . . not walking backward through life, but carving each one to a unique shape and carrying them with me as I walk. Speaking of walking, it’s time for me to continue. Thanks for sharing your rock. Remember this and who knows? One day our paths may intersect again. Take care of this place. Remember that there are many, many streams, but none match this one. Each is unique and therefore special. Hey! Wait! What about . . . ?

Mike Pedde 24/04/2002