A puddle. Not just any puddle, but one in particular. One forming itself on the opposite street side of my favorite Aunt’s house. On a street that swelled up in its middle and dipped back low enough towards its curb so as to pool the water from an afternoons shower up against it. I sat restlessly by the window, watching this and other puddles dance with rain drops splashing into them as I waited for the rain to stop as I use to stand waiting for that old, rusty yellow bus to take me to school in the mornings. But instead of waiting for a ride to school, I wait to walk back to my Mom’s house.
Having to walk past the corner bar and broken bottled parking lots where I would eventually break the law many times over. Across the metal bridge over the creek I would take my little brother fishing. Over the old rail road tracks whose trains were my night time lullaby, sung to me from outside the back yard window of my bedroom. All the way across the neighborhood baseball field park where I would eventually surrender my feel of free.
Free. A difficult thing to describe or remember when one has not felt the luxury of its actuality in as long as I have. Instead, there is an occasional, yet particular image flashing into my awareness from a place of what use to be, of what once was. Reminding me, every now again, of free.
An untranslatable message to mind yet clearly comprehended by heart and most necessary for the life of spirit is the image of me, outside my Aunts house, in the fresh air of no more rain and clear skies. Standing there, tip toes on the fringe of a puddle of water. About three inches deep and several yards wide, my twelve year old self, with bare feet slipped casually inside a raggedly pair of leather loafers, without notice or after thought, jumps smack dab into the middle of it. Splashing into its water joyfully and carelessly. Finding a happiness in just being a kid. Enjoying the feel of its cool water splash upon my legs, the feel of its wettness slosh around inside my loafers as I made my treck back home. Making sure to jump into every other puddle I laid my eyes on. It became the running theme of my journey, puddle jumping.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this particular walk home, jumping into that first puddle came to be the one image that keeps my hope alive, that gives me hope when I feel like I have none left. With out words or an explanation why, the image of the twelve year old me provides light at an otherwise darkened tunnel. I don’t question it, or over think it, as I do many other things in my life, for once, I simply believe.
Thanks for listening,
Jason B. Thompson
Categories: Jason Thompson