Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Writing Exercise: '5 Seconds of Summer'


Hey readers, it's me again.

Perhaps to make up for all of the posts I haven't written in the last week I have decided to start another writing exercise. The theme was to write something including the idea of 5 seconds of summer. Being someone who loves the beach, this particular exercise was not that hard for me. I hope you like it!


5 Seconds of Summer 
(Or "One Last Summer). 

When you are young like I am, you don’t think of dying much. Despite the frustrations and the obstacles- the crying babies, the job that is a hassle; even the occasional marriage argument propel you in the direction of pursuing through life. The days of youth are a passing summer- containing a heat and warmth, even through the struggles. Children along the way bring with them the capacity to lighten and enlighten, enlivening each day with a new vigour and remind us that life is temporal, and the summer is not eternal.

Some years seem terrible though- serving more to remind young people about death. The remembrance of that exact time you heard of your relative, in the final throes of a degenerative disease, found dead next to a bottle of prescription pills, the crusty grandfather you misunderstood that you were asked in awkwardness to pray for before he was sent on his way, or watching the men solemnly push his coffin into the hearse and drive off to the gravesite. “He was old” the mourners thought “He’s had a good innings”. Perhaps you thought that to yourself too, yet it made no difference to what was lost. Maybe it reminded you to enjoy every minute with someone else you know? Maybe it's not so bad to think about death if it reminds you about life...

When you are young, you are told to enjoy every minute. “How am I supposed to do that?” You, and so many other people say ...“I’m stuck at school”, and you are right, too. School may teach you some of the things you need to know, and fill your mind with knowledge, but your soul remains empty. Explain again do I enjoy every minute? As I get older I see the children I taught- they are adolescents now. Navigating an adulthood that frightens them as much as it frightens their parents. Soon my children will be going through the same things. My own parents are graying, and speak in worried tones, occasionally venturing towards safe adventures, imparting the seeming-wisdom of caution, causing me to ask “How am I to live, continually looking behind my back? How is that enjoying every minute?”

Even though you might be young, you can still feel like you are riddled with regrets- Things you never said, things you ought to have done- The silences that should have been filled with kind words, or the words you said that you wish you could take back. The choices you made that have defined you- or even the inability to live again in those moments of rare and true victory- where your soul swelled in feelings of exhileration. Being an adult can be frustrating, but even those hardships propel you forward- ever seeking to fill your life and your children’s life with victorious moments like the ones you keenly remember. No, when you are young you don’t think about death and why should you? Although they provided you with no solutions of their own, your teachers were right. You should be enjoying every minute. Right?

I don’t know much about death. I’ve never died before, but I have heard that sometimes- especially in emergency situations that your whole life flashes before your eyes. I imagine, hopefully when I am old and ready, that this will be true for me. I imagine that as I lay on my deathbed, my tired wrinkled face staring into the darkness of the starry sky, that I will reflect on the summers long past- the warm sheaths of sunlight that warmed my body as I splashed in the shimmering ocean. I will remember the feeling my through my toes as I walked on the radiant beachside, making squelching noises on the white sand. I will remember my brother, who hated getting splashed almost as much as I delighted in splashing him- his skinny body bearing the brunt of a friendly wave- a smile hidden beneath the customary sulk.I suppose if I must think of death, and if I am forced to think on my mortality, even now as I consider the obstacles I have yet to face, I would ask you but one thing God, as I close my eyes on the temporal veil I exist on and my life flashes before my eyes...

Give me my 5 seconds of summer back, and this time, could you make it for eternity?

I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Ben.
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