Happy because my past doesn’t weight as much as it once did. Ever since I made peace with it I’ve learned to live in the present. I’ve dared to speak the truths that were kept hidden for years. I’ve dared to say no without explaining myself. I’ve dared to forgive myself for the many paths leading nowhere, for being stubborn and not listening until I had no choice but to turn back and try a different path. Today the past feels light and easy to carry, but the future is still veiled by my lack of vision.
This idea didn’t dawn on me out of the blue. It surfaced while analyzing the lyrics to Johnny Mercer’s Moon River at a music teachers’ workshop last week. Everyone had a view of the song’s meaning, but I saw it clearly. Moon River is about bringing one’s past and present into the future.
We were asked to listen to the song with our eyes closed while visualizing ourselves ten years from now. We were asked, “What does your desired future look like?” One person saw himself on a stage, singing and being applauded by a large audience. Another young teacher saw himself leading a rehearsal with his students in a perfect environment under perfect circumstances. (Crazy, I know! You have better chances at winning the lottery!) When it came to me I saw myself standing in a beautiful plain where tall grass and small wildflowers covered the earth for miles. It was springtime and the sun was setting. The breeze was warm and I could hear the buzzing of insects and chirping of birds. I was truly happy in my future, but I had nothing to show . . . nothing of value anyway. Even the dress I was wearing seemed worn out. I turned to look behind me and saw an old house with a wrap-around porch. I’ve never visited a house or a place like that, but somehow I knew this was my home, and my husband was waiting for me inside. I continued to face the setting sun, my eyes taking in the beauty around me, breathing in deeply and loving each second of life.
That was my future, but it isn’t something I had considered until that moment when I was asked to visualize it. It certainly isn’t something I’m working towards, so why was I so happy there? Perhaps it was the feeling of being one with nature, or knowing that I wasn’t a slave to the consumer society we live in. Truth is I don’t really know. I must admit it’s easy for me to lose myself in self-reflection or in activities that most people consider solitary and confining. I could easily spend my entire summer vacation sitting at my desk writing fiction, or practicing piano, or reading. My husband would certainly go crazy living in a remote house in the plains, but I’d love it.
Maybe I don’t want to draw out my future. I’ve already done it many times only to realize it isn’t what I want. It’s possible that my pot of gold lies in being unattached to material things. Like Johnny Mercer says, “We’re after the same rainbow’s end, my Huckleberry friend (the past), Moon River (the future) and me (the present).”