When I squint into the early morning Spring sun
my mind goes back to getting up before daylight
to work all day with my grandfather.
Not knowing what the day would bring.
I just showed up to work, with eyes fighting sleep and the sun to stay open.
When I smell freshly cut grass in the late afternoon shade
my mind goes back to playing softball in the back yard
with the whole family and half the neighborhood kids.
A celebration after sweating behind a push mower for half a day.
When I taste a handmade hamburger at some hole in the wall diner
where no one cares about the health score hanging on the wall,
my mind goes back to being a kid and going somewhere with my dad.
Just me and dad.
I smile and think of him as I take a bite, he would have liked this.
When I hear hammer of diesel engine and smell it’s aromatic exhaust
my mind goes back to working odd jobs on construction sites with my older brother.
Dust is flying in the air and the sun is going down or coming up.
We worked all day.
When I hear the cawing of a crow breaking the still, clean air on a cold fall morning
my mind takes me back to the quiet frosty cotton fields behind the house.
When I drive on a rough neglected back road,
my mind goes back to the river loop.
Now I’m on the way to the boat launch with Zach and Dad.
Or on the way home from the tiny Chinese buffet across the river with the whole family.
When I smell years of stale cigarette smoke in a time capsule house from the 50s my mind goes back to my grandmother Ida Lang’s.
When a familiar musty smell escapes as I open an old book in some quiet bookstore, my mind goes back to laying in the floor reading through the ancient encyclopedias.
When I hear just about any song my mind goes back to first time that I heard it.
Some songs have a stronger memory attached to them.
And yet, sometimes my mind goes back on it’s own.
A feeling that’s hard to explain.
Sometimes I think I go back to a place that I never was, and when I get there, I am sad because I was not there the first time.
There are places that my mind takes me back that I don’t want to go.
Then there are places that my mind can’t take me.
Ah, but other times,
my mind goes forward.