Sunday, February 28, 2010

Acid Flashback Flashforward

The final day of February! My abbreviated birthday month. Valentines and cupids begone. Days closer to chartreuse feathers of new leaves budding fancifully on now bare branches. Bring it on! Snow melt and longer days. The annual verdant transition between winter's harsh bleakness and the lemony brilliance of summer. Solitude giving forth to merrymaking. Grey to kaleidoscope vibrancy. Insects awaken from wintersleep. March begins anew tomorrow. Time to get my ass back into gear as April edges into view. Make plans. Real ones. Forge ahead. A promise to me. Not be broken.

Wishful thinking spawns dewy-edged memories alive with promise. Hmmm. Cannot shake the images. All day. While walking through the village on this still cold, but sun-filled afternoon skirting snow drifts dotting the stick-strewn sidewalk, my underactive Sunday-relaxed mind whirs backward. Whoosh. In a snap I am back to the cusp. My cusp. The singular moment on the curve of my arc pushes headstrong through the cobwebs, emerging unscathed. Those heady days in the spring of my life rich in meaning, pregnant with hope. Silky memories. My budding womanhood glides easily across the decades.

Freshman spring. A pastel day. Reclining on newly mowed lawn in the courtyard outside Dow Hall, crossed arms support my head, chestnut hair fanned like a mantilla. Eyes closed. Frye boot, 501 fly-buttoned jean clad sweet baby James inches away. Strains from his acoustic guitar float through the warm air with ten miles behind him and ten thousand more to go. A song that he sings when he takes to the highway. A song that he sings when he takes to the sea. A song that is sung as pastures change with the seasons. Deep greens and blues. Wanderlust defined. Well for me anyway.

In that serene afternoon across the years amid budding tulips, zaps of high intensity colors silhouette my hands gracefully appearing larger than life. Twining delicate like a gorilla ballerina. I bottled that moment. Cucumber fingers, too. Delicious moments I visit often carrying me back to my innocence, my virginity and my life unfolding. The essence of spring. My spring. Magical. Anything possible. Everything possible. Tornadoes and demons off stage in the nonthreatening distant horizon. Not yet looming. James Taylor does that to me. Transports me effortlessly back to that day ... and forward to my travels yet to be. Hopeful. Unencumbered.

1970. Vietnam ripping our country apart. Polarization. Hard hats clubbing hippies at the ground zero construction site of the rising World Trade Towers. Foreboding. Those frenetic days following the harrowing events at Kent State. Red and Blue states start your engines. Jockey for position. Moms and Dads confused. Effete intellectual snobs we college students. Thank you, Mr. Veep for triggering the dumbing of America. Our schizoid Prez drips perspiration paranoid and corrupt. Bridge over Trouble Waters the Grammy song of the year. Kids gone wild? The taste of electric kool-aid dripping down our chins. Hardly. Flag-draped coffins. Our nascent Woodstock Nation devolving with the death of our innocence. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Violent storms ripped at the seams of our naiveté.

What the hell happened? We floated into the new decade long hair flowing in the breeze. Sixties flowers powering our ascent to quasi-adult beings. Peace symbols and flashes of fingers in Vs. Op art. Pop art. Soup cans larger than life. Effervescent. Restraints tossed casually into the air. Blowin' in the wind at our backs. Propelling us into lives filled with promise, intellect and most of all ... compassion.

It is still before me. On my radar screen. The dreams. My dreams. The roll-up-my-shirtsleeves, get-the-dirt-under-my-fingernails desire to offer my skills honed over a lifetime of privilege to an emerging economy.

Tomorrow. Monday. I continue my plan. Stay the course. Breakout the books. Prepare my CELTA application. Certificate in English Language Training for Adults. Vietnam. Hanoi. Near Diem Bien Phu. Contribute meaningfully. Teach English. Familiarize myself with this gentle culture, its ancient customs. Migrate into the business landscape. Microfinance. Reclaim from the once again leafy jungles those days of innocence where anything is possible ... and there is much to discover. To explore.

Cheers ... to renewed dreams and fearlessly imagining the possibilities!


  1. Musn't one know Vietnamese before you can teach english to them? Or, amongst your many extraordinary accomplishments, have you learned to speak fluent Vietnamese? I know that some classes of Vietnamese speak French and since you liberally sprinkle your posts with French, perhaps that is the genesis of your plan. Have I answered my own question? C'est typique de moi!

  2. Apparently not, although I am unsure of the process. Many ESL classrooms are multi-lingual where the only common language is English. My son learned Mandarin in this manner. No English spoken. Humbling indeed.