Neverland

Dave Smith

The Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run” filters through the speakers on this strange after-awake morning.  Good advice from this antique instrumental group, famous for guitar riffs and a great drum beat.  I try to collect the events of the night behind me, a nether-land generating a today mystery, a certain confusion that befuddles and fogs my think.  Outdoors, the late morning brightens from the drizzle grey of sunup.  Yea, we’ve had some rain, some chill, and a lot of March spring in these early April days.  The wet of it all….

I recall the too late night slide into a 1AM bed – just a comforter thrown over my back as I plopped onto a forgiving pillow.  Soon I walked in rain, large drops dappling my hair, my face, a Carhart work shirt, and Wranglers.  My Nike’s squished along, the grass more a murky quagmire pulling to keep them.  I always look back at least once to see my trail, the distinct footprints trialing me a step at a time.  I don’t feel cold, just wandered in the dark park off Mukwonago Drive, a place I’ve never ventured.  I stalled at the top of the small knoll, waited at some unknown urgency.  My soul-filling angst of the past weeks has failed to dissipate.  The holes I’ve punched to drain the clog easily plugged by conversations, requests, readings, postings, and who knows what all.  Where has my peace gone?

My snow top of hair, matted to my weary mind, leaked without chill – over, into, and under the favorite burgundy shirt with Henley collar.  The large, dappling drops maleate into a gentleness of mist that seemed to clarify with each swipe-wipe of my hand.  Darkness offered no color, just a house light, streetlight back lit stage with no scenery.  I heard the voice of the eaves and felt the easy rhythm and stir of restlessness, of “why here” wondering.  Spring, even in the night, washes in its murky way the dull, relentless grip of winter’s clinging effort to stay.  Kind of like these plugs not allowing drain of doldrum doodles into all I do.  An ever so quiet and soft breeze brushed around and through me.  A pine breathed and I felt a softness clasp my hand that allowed no fear to mingle the stay-still-stay-here voice exhaled in the trees.  I closed my eyes, the mist welcomed inner dark.  Questions came, shadow upon shadow rolling like Macbeth’s apparitions across this musky scene.  Where is the joy?  Why do you drudge to once happy work?  What causes your misgivings, your slip of faith?  Who chases your heart and soul into an abyss of fret, even mistrust?  And why, just why?  I took a step, and one more.  No star appeared in a grey epiphany, no lightning strobed and no thunder droningly grummmbled.  Just me, mist, and time passing.  Curtain closed. Go home.   And I woke to the sandpaper lick of kittens wanting food and a mind racing to touch the keyboard.

The music shifts, a rendition of “Wipeout” and the wild staccato of drum and rapid fire guitar cheers me.  Love that old tune, now clear in a modern message.  Those unfamiliar need to google and find the tune, turn up the bass, and lean back.  The rhythm crescendo’s and captures life as we now know it – a snare drum, rattatatat race accented by bass drum backdrops of pounding stress-fret-angst.  The guitars speed, race along chasing the drums until a cymbal smashing end abruptly stops the gushing rushing of existence. The who, what, where, when, and why of fir sigh all come back to one.

Me.

What I allow in my heart and soul, the voices I permit to gain volume, the choices I make, and the actions I carry out – well, as Shakespeare wrote, “There’s the rub.”  What I permit to be in my forefront, well, that’s what will lead me.  Palm Sunday comes.  I think of that softness clasping my hand.  The peace I felt.  We all receive those branches on this Sunday, this day of Jesus and a donkey and a people soon to watch and wonder.  Yes, my Neverland need not be foreverland.  I choose – to be there or to be back in the soft wrap of Jesus’ peace and God’s love and grace.  Right now I am a bit far off the path.  Time to leave Peter Pan.  After all, I need to change the case and toss the downy pillow in the dryer.  I am not quite sure how a dream made both so wet and left a dripping Henley draped over the bedpost.