Page 18 - Arkansas 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 1
P. 18

Idon’t have a chance!” I loudly exclaimed to my friend Dillard.
second year in school, but I had “already decided that wasn’t where I
This particular Saturday in April, while walking through the woods to Dillard’s house, I was determined to tell Dillard how unfair life was. I spied him in his rocking chair as I walked around the side of the porch. Sitting peacefully with his arms folded, slightly rocking back and forth and barely even moving the chair, he seemed bigger than life to me. In my mind, he was an artist and his canvas was the hand he had been dealt. It was at that moment that I flung
We walked a few hundred yards and stopped. He sat down on an old log and with his right hand made a sweeping motion as if to reveal something grand.
myself down on the porch and blurted out, “I don’t have a chance!”
He continued to rock for a moment or two, and then stopped. He looked at me briefly and then turned his attention across the road for what seemed an eternity. He moved his head slowly from side to side as he surveyed the landscape. He then leaned toward me,
turned his head sideways just a bit and asked me, “Did you notice anything unusual today? Did you take time to look while you walked, or did you just walk?”
I don’t know what I expected him to say, but as usual he said something I didn’t expect. He once told me, “The moment you realize you can swim underwater will be more important to you than
how many seconds you can swim underwater, so learn what’s important.” What was really strange, we weren’t even talking about swimming at all and as usual we were sitting on the front porch.
I didn’t know what he wanted me to say, so I said nothing at all. He broke the silence by asking again, “So on the way here today, what did you see?”
“Nothing,” I said. He stood up and stepped off the porch. He walked slowly in the direction that I had just walked. “Where are we going,” I asked. “Going to see if you can see it this time,” was his reply.
We walked a few hundred yards and stopped. He sat down on an old log and with his right hand made a sweeping motion as if to reveal something grand. “Now what do you see?” he asked one more time. Again, I replied, “Nothing.”
“It’s not that complicated son. If you are looking for something that is not here, you’ll never find it,” he said. “I don’t get it,” I replied. “Of course, you don’t,” he responded. “And because you don’t get it, you’ll never find it.”
He pointed to the tree and said, “You see that, right?” I didn’t have a clue what this had to do with anything. But
I was only halfway through my
wanted to be. Oh, it wasn’t so much
the school work, although I must admit, it seemed like a colossal waste of time to me since I had already made up
my mind to become a world famous explorer. I hadn’t figured out how to catch a ride yet, but was working on that too.
To be fair, it wasn’t really the other kids’ fault either. It’s just that when they talked about their moms and
dads, it made me sad. It made me
sad because I had been dropped off at some people’s home that I didn’t know. Turns out that they were an uncle and an aunt. All I knew was that I just felt abandoned. And then one of the kids would ask me about my mom and dad who I didn’t know and didn’t know where in the world they were. I just knew where they weren’t and I didn’t like it. A seven-year-old kid shouldn’t have to answer questions like that, so I would get mad. Then I’d get in trouble. Likely that regular trip to the principal’s office was part of the reason I was looking for a ride to start my exploring earlier than most.
I couldn’t talk about it with my uncle and aunt. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I knew they loved me and were doing the best they could to deal with a situation they hadn’t asked for either. Besides all that, no one could have done it better than they did, and for all the right reasons. Even so, I was feeling sorry for myself.
16 • Arkansas 811 Magazine 2022, Issue 1

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