By Dave Markwell
“A boat passes in front of the sun’s reflection on the water. Inside the boat are people close to each other. In a different life, I was one of those people on the boat, sitting near people close to me, with the wind in our face and salt in our hair. We were kings. All the lives we live within one are beautiful things…”
I wrote these words in my notebook last summer while sitting on my lovely girlfriend’s deck at sunset, grilling chicken and enjoying a long, warm evening. The boat and people and sunset reminded me of a time in my life, which I really identified as a different life.
Last weekend, I visited my son at college on a perfect University of Washington game day Saturday. We ate sausages and played beer pong and laughed. We also talked. We talked about life now and life “then”- when he was a little boy under my charge. We laughed more recalling moments and it was interesting hearing about the things he remembers and thinks about. It was the little stuff- songs, food, people we shared time with that were his highlights. I was very happy this day. I miss my son.
That very same lovely fall afternoon, a celebration of life was being held for an old girlfriend of mine, Mariah. I had planned on attending, but as my son-day extended longer than I thought it would, I didn’t make it. But my mind and heart were there. People come into our lives for a time and leave, but also stay. Parts of them remain. And this girl was a beautiful force of nature- kind, fun, positive, with an infectious sense of adventure and always willing to help improve someone’s day. Her passing was too soon and an enormous loss to the world. And parts of her and our time together will stay with me until I die.
This wonderful day showcased the overlapping of the different lives we live. My son as a little boy stands distinctly as a different life. We were different people, living different lives. My time with Mariah lives as its own book, connected to the whole, but largely unrelated to the many lives I’ve lived since then. I have many books on my shelf. Lives change and people come and go and a few stay. Sometimes they stay as a lifeline for a necessary laugh or cry, and sometimes they stay as a fond memory (hopefully!), but they’re all important and fill the missing pieces on our bookshelves and in our hearts.
So, as the fog lifts over my town and the sun begins to rise over the mountains, I write words and think and open my books and remember and dream. I smile in gratitude at my collection. I ponder the next story being written and I feel love and hope and am thankful for all the lives I’ve lived that have brought me to this one. It’s a good book…
[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!”