Shrinkage

Posted by Ken Campbell March 28, 2014 0 Comment 1454 views

I’ve been going to Lake Los Carneros in the mornings before I go to visit my father in the rehab hospital. (He’s doing better, by the way. Thank you.) The trails are soft dirt paths through the tall grasses – already brown, even this early in the year – and the calm of the early morning air is spattered with the triumphant calls of birds. Rabbits and squirrels skitter through the brush and the tall trees shimmy against a clear, blue sky. The lake is lower than normal; it hasn’t really rained here for any length of time for quOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAite a while. It’s all still there, it’s just that it seems so small.

I can work my memory through all the phases of my adolescence, from the time I was 10 until I was 19, with this lake and the surrounding acres as a backdrop. I can see myself as that skinny kid on a bike, riding the trails with David and Andy after school. That awkward middle-schooler with the inflatable rowboat and the fishing pole. Even that older kid – young man, really – the one with the beer and the loud friends and no sense of direction. I lived a block away; this is one of the more significant places of my formative years.

It’s still the same place it was back then. I can still recall the rise and fall of the same trails, in these same groves of eucalyptus and palm trees. But everything seems so close together now. It used to be that the big oak tree was way over there and the grass hillside behind the dam was way off in an entirely different direction. There were serious distances involved in an 11 year-old’s excursion to the lake, whether on foot or by pedal and it seemed like there was an infinite number of possible routes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was smaller and the world was bigger back then. It happens to all of us. We morph into adults and the wide lakes of our youth turn to ponds. Our eyes see farther and the things that were once beyond our horizons have become easily visible. The trails get shorter as our gaze is cast farther, and the perceived distance between any one place and any other place is much smaller. We get better at seeing the big picture as we get older with the result being that the things that once seemed large and overwhelming no longer seem as substantial.

It is a beautiful place though and I’m glad it’s stayed much the same. I will go again tomorrow morning.

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