A Brief Trip Through Time
For a few minutes, I was 15 years old again. The girls who would become lifelong friends were there. We all had the same boots, L.L.Bean duck boots. The moment happened when I, at 40-something, put on a brand new pair of those old boots. It had been 20 years since I’d seen them. It was like in Being John Malkovich, shooting through the tunnel into… myself, my silly 15-year-old self at Jones Junior High. I felt the promise, insecurity, and camaraderie of adolescence. As I leaned back and kicked with joy, memories flooded over me; duck boots and ski club, duck boots and grey days walking around Arlington, duck boots rushing to Lane Avenue for lunch. Through snow and more often slush, those formative years flew through my mind on duck-booted feet in a giggle of girls with others of their kind. When I ordered the new pair, it was because they had been warm and dry and practical and I had need for just such a thing. Never did I imagine how they would transport me back, remind me of who we were then, at the beginning of the path to who we would become.
Decades down the road, we have followed our dreams and chosen forks in that road, passed through points of no return. If we saw at 15 what we would do with our lives, would those teenagers scoff or be amazed? Can we in middle-age retrieve that sense of open doors, options, and opportunity? Can a new pair of boots walk my spirit back to the time when it might do anything and had yet to fail?