A sufficiently old boy who is still sufficiently young, maybe nine or eleven, and has woken up just after sunup when the light is still coming in sideways so all the shadows are different and everything is a little golden, has no objection to yesterday's underwear or to the jeans and T-shirt rumpled on the floor at the foot of the bed. If you throw the pajamas on the bed it’s going to work out perfectly tonight when you need them again. Socks already properly utilized, however, are stiff and feel wrong. Even a boy will don clean socks if there are any, new, clean socks under old, dirty sneakers and then off to the day. There are seasons of gaming days, sitting for hours in front of the television honing reflexes and problem solving skills with deft fingers and thumbs that wield pretend massacre in passionless pursuit of some invented objective. Then there are seasons, like now, of outside play, late summer and spring with no jacket, otherwise with this year’s jacket, or maybe last year’s if it still fits. There are toys in the dirt, balls in the fields, thickets, ponds and creeks to explore, or, with good fortune, real woods, rivers and lakes. There are seasons with friends, maybe even a gang, other boys or, if a boy’s lucky, some girls. Then there are solitary seasons, just one other person or not even, just a boy and his survival gear alone in the fauna and flora. These are years for honing mechanical aptitudes, learning to control the large muscles and the fine, learning how humans interact in conflict and cooperation. Subtleties might still befuddle a boy of ten, flushing in anger or embarrassment, confused at the brush of another’s hand that tingles like most things haven’t before, the seeds of things that will grow to awful, wonderful fruition in more complicated times to come. Sometimes that howling longing, that disconnected wind of restless despair or desire might stir briefly in the heart of a boy this young, and he’ll feel the echo of it in the vast cavern inside his chest even though he won’t understand it. He’ll stop digging and look over the tops of the trees and wonder how far a person can go from home, what they’ll find if they do, whether they’ll ever come back. It’s fleeting, though, shaken off and washed away in the torrent of young questions and ideas, the maelstrom of learning and growing. Youth burns away fast, but not when you’re in it and every hour feels like a day, every day like a week. How can we wait until tomorrow? It’s so far away. Let’s do it now. Everything. Let’s do it before we have to shed these stiffening socks in the sleepy, darkling decline of today strewn across the carpet and up into the warm, soft, unmade bed.
Hello, friends. I hope you're well.