How often have we heard someone, even yourself say, ” If only I could do it all over again? ” I suppose the sentiment here is that if only we could go back and fix all the mistakes in our life; to have a do-over so to speak. That could repair so much heartache, or would it?
Imagine if you will that you’re taking some time for you, so you go for a walk. For me, my favourite place for solitude is the forest. There’s a peace that can be found when you’re alone with your thoughts. The birds and the breeze that is rustling the branches of the trees above. I suppose another reason is that you may not feel so exposed when you’re surrounded by nature.
So off you go, alone with your thoughts as you begin your walk. The weather is pleasant enough, so you continue deeper into the rich canopy that is the forest. After a few minutes, you stop and close your eyes. As you breathe in the rich fragrance of the damp earth and fallen leaves from long ago your senses far more alive. You feel, smell and hear far greater than ever before as you become one with nature, and that’s when it happens.
As you listen to the sounds of the forest, suddenly a new sound invades your senses. At first, you’re certain it to be leaves rustling in the breeze, but as you listen again, you’re certain that you can hear either something or someone darting between the tree. As you slowly open your eyes, you stop and listen again and nothing. So you decide to continue on and enjoy your walk.
After a few minutes, you hear it again and you’re not certain but you could swear that you saw a flash of something off to your side. As you turn your head to where you thought that you may have seen something, you call out, “ Is anyone there? “ Following what seemed to be an eternity, you see the head of someone peeking out from behind the tree. When this curious wanderer sees you they quickly hide behind the tree once more. This time your voice is a bit softer as you call out, “ It’s ok, I won’t hurt you. Why don’t you come out so we can meet? “
At first, the wanderer peeks out again and then very timidly he steps out from behind the tree. You say hello but there is no response as the wander cautiously looks you over to make sure that you’re as safe as you appear. In an attempt to gain this strangers trust you take off and reach into your backpack to see if you have anything to eat. Slowly you pull out an apple and motion towards this curious visitor if they would like something to eat. He nods his head as his eyes look towards the apple in your hand.
Slowly, you both step towards each other and you can’t help but feel his insecurities, loneliness and fear, so you look right at him so that he can see in your face that you’re safe. But as you do look directly at him, you think that in some way or another that he looks familiar. You’re not quite sure from where, but somewhere or another you’re certain that you must have known him. As you get closer, you notice that a small brook lies between the two of you. Not wanting to startle him you decide to remain on your side of the brook, you carefully reach out, holding the apple for him to take. You notice that this boy looks no more than 13 years of age, but you can’t be quite sure. Your thoughts begin to go in a million different directions as you try and remember who this is.
As his hand touches the apple in your hand, you suddenly realize that this stranger is… you. You don’t know how this can be, but sure enough, this person is you. Of course not you as you are now but you as you once were. Everything within you wants to step across the brook that currently divides the two of you. You think of all the things that you want so desperately want to tell your younger self. All the things to look forward too as well as the things to look out for. You begin to think how different your life would have turned out if only you knew the pitfalls to look out for.
So as you steady yourself to make the leap across the brook you look once more into his eyes and you can’t help but notice a hint of wonder, innocence a spark within his curious eyes. His or your eyes stop you in your tracks as wisdom holds you back from crossing the brook. Yes, every fibre of your being wants to reach out and hold him and tell him that everything going to be all right, but you know that if you do you will only extinguish that spark within that he will so desperately need as he lives your life.
So instead you give him the apple, you smile deeply towards him and shake his or your hand and say goodbye. As you walk away, your mind starts racing with the thoughts and memories of the past. You almost turn around to warn him but then you see a new butterfly emerge from its cocoon and then it hits you.. without the struggle, there really is no life after all.