But still they all tell me: “Enjoy it while it lasts kid, it don’t get any better than that.”
I’m not so sure, though.
For me, youth has been a glass bottle dropped on the rocky coast amidst the panicked oystercatchers. For years I will be left to tumble in the rolling tides, jagged and salty, waiting for the smooth edges of old age.
But for most, youth is it. Once lost they search and long for the days when the hummingbird of their heart saw the entire world as tubular and full of nectar.
And without warning (besides of course for the hundreds of warnings), that quick iridescence one day molted into a merganser on its way to becoming a stiff-jawed pelican.
But not me.
For me I know that the best has yet to come, and I have always gladly associated myself with pelicans.
I can hardly wait for the day when the sun-burnt dust can settle around me long enough to see where it is I am going.
When I am no longer roaming from town to town, job to job, love to love, maybe to maybe.
When the hiccupping sea finally leaves me to rest on its shores, and the smooth, milky serpentine of my eyes holds the answers to these questions.
When I can look out the window and watch the kids running from dragons below the swollen lanterns of the persimmon tree.
When the day comes that I can hold my son in my arms and have my own dad back.
And when, after knowing each other for thousands and thousands of days, she and I will still sneak off to the back porch when the kids are sleeping,
and make love beneath the wide-eyed stars looking down at us with curiosity, giving no thought to real estate or calls from the principal.
They say that the world is my oyster. As long as that remains true I will take these calcified hands and opalescent words and weave pearls out of all the pain, the tumbling, the salt water rushing into and out of my eyes.
Youth, I see you now, and I will dart around in your gardens, and roll in your waves with a smile, while it lasts.
And on that one day when I notice you have left me, I will stroke my beard and have a seat, waiting and watching for the dust to settle.
San Francisco and Nevada City, CA