Seminar Dates and Locations      Articles      Joseph Campbell      Site Map      Search

Looking Back

After Billy Collins' On Turning Ten

Arthur Hughes, Good Night

At nine, I looked back at the procession
of changes as adventures.
At seven I had started trying to memorize my life —
the way the frost caught the field with sparkles
that first winter in New Jersey —
how each twig and branch was cased in light —
the first snow I saw — the worst blizzard in fifty years
that turned the woods into a fairy snow castle.

I was memorizing the new days and the old —
the adventures of the past — in California —
the golden days in the vineyards and orchards
and the 'house on top of the hill' —
four children living in stories, exploring the old winery,
excited by the smell of ferment and wood —
finding a fort in the thickest brush where you had to
crawl on your hands and knees to get in, but
when you looked up you were in a secret room of
all twigs and intertwining branches
so perfect it made you laugh.

I memorized the warm air of Mountain View
and the cold of Scullville — so cold it made you cry
while waiting for the bus that didn't come
because of the ice.

I said we should write a book about the adventures —
and took pictures in my mind —
before the next chapter in the next new place.

I memorized nature and fireflies,
and dogs that ran with me in the tall grass —
and though I didn't try —
I memorized the expressions on the faces
of the people I would not see again.

~Anne Bach