Gratitude: Herrick

Why is it that the good times are always spoken of in the past tense? Personally, it seems as though whenever I am at peace with the world and content with my current position it is an inevitably brief condition. While these occasions are seldom, they are nearly always organic. While sporadic periods of blissful content are casually sprinkled about my life there is one single event that never fails stirs present-day nostalgia.
Plucked from day to day life there are brief occurrences where I will see something that I might routinely see but in a different light. A different light may be a unique circumstance, sporadic profound realization, or a literal different light. An increasingly common circumstance as of late is the understanding that the end of my time in Washington State is impending. All of a sudden everything I do may be the last time I am doing it. Instead of going to a Mariners game, eating my hotdog in the green plastic seats overlooking the third baseline, and watching the baseball game, time slows down and I return to the times as a child that I used to sit in those seats and watch games with my dad. The smoke wafting in from beyond the gates and curling in hazy tendrils over the outfielder’s heads brings me back to a time where I used to be woken up at the crack of dawn to ride the train with my dad into downtown Seattle, sit atop a skyscraper tall swivel chair and color on endless roles of paper while the floors of neighboring skyscrapers provided the backdrop for my silhouette. I never did appreciate those early mornings of acting as my dad’s accomplice to playing hooky in the name of baseball until recently. However, this gratefulness for a wonderful childhood and my immensely proud father always seems to dissipate after the 27th out is recorded and the crowd scatters to the wind, just as the smoke from the tailgate grills did so many innings earlier.
While Mariners games stir specific memories, the event that always conjures the most profound realizations to my current circumstances is the late-night drive from my childhood home in Auburn to my apartment in Bellevue. There is always an eerie calm on that drive where the diesel motor creates a soundtrack for my wandering mind. There are no other cars on the road or buses crammed full of people bustling to and from work or construction workers providing the dust and racket of modernization. It is like that moment in the rain when it is just beginning, there is this split-second fracture of the common concentration and the rain demands it be made note of. And just like that the moment is over, it is now raining, and there is working to be done. I think that this time during my drive and that second a rainstorm begins is peculiar because it is a distinct break from the normal and an impromptu hiatus from eternally expanding capitalism. It is in these moments when my mind is distracted from personal elevation that is can be and recaptured by my preverbal view, looking out over all that I have already accomplished and feeling content in the moment.

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