Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend a little time in the town where I went to college. It is just the next town up, about 7 miles from where I live.
This college town is home to Humboldt State University, is "green" and is smack dab in the middle of the "Emerald Triangle". They have an All Species Day parade, hippie festivals and farmer's markets in the summer. In other words, it's groovy.
I had to ride the bus to get to my destination. This is not something new for me as mass transit is my current mode of transportation. But riding the bus in this little town is unlike any bus ride I have ever taken.
This bus has classical music playing in it. They are broadcasting the University radio station, the unmistakable groovy D.J. breaking in to give us the local happenings.
At the University stop hordes of kids, yes, to me they are kids, get on. Most look to be in their very early twenties, toting backpacks, cell phones and iPods. They chatter on as the bus takes off, sharing seats and some standing on the over-full bus.
I was struck by their energy. I'm not talking about bouncing off the walls energy but their quiet energy. The energy that comes from youth. Bright, unlined faces smiling and talking, sharing ideas and laughs, philosophy lessons and making plans for the evening ahead.
I was particularly taken by a young man and young woman who were making some kind of connection on that crowded, noisy bus. They sat across from each other, apparently continuing a conversation started at the bus stop. He was probably in his early twenties, blonde with a full beard and a great smile. He had intelligent blue eyes that shone when he smiled, which he did often.
She was petite with short blonde hair pulled back into a cute pony tail, beautiful skin and nice blue-gray eyes. She leaned into his words and spoke animatedly with her hands and had a quick smile that flashed in her eyes.
Pretty soon it was time for her stop and they said good bye and she got off the bus. He waved to her as we drove by her.
I was fascinated by the interaction of these two people. It reminded me of how vital we were at that age, with the whole world open to us, our whole lives in front of us. How open we are before we are beaten down and scarred by our lives. By the disappointments, tragedies and monotony that can become everyday life. Before we become tired by the routines and challenges we face every day that wear us down and make us lose that spark.
Watching those two people connect on that level that existed before you learn to hide your heart and be suspicious of every new connection, reminded me that life is full. Life is full of chances and choices. Chances for new opportunities, relationships, and connections. Choices to be made that will open us up or close us down to these new experiences that will perhaps set us on a new, exciting path. A path we are meant to fulfil and perhaps exceed.
So, maybe you can't go home again but it sure is nice to be able to visit for awhile.