Wednesday, July 17, 2013

trading tomorrows for a single yesterday

Traffic was not bad this morning coming in.  Typically if I leave at 8 I am cooked.  Today, while the drive was not smooth like it would be at 2 a.m., it did not feel like rush hour either.  Got on the Mass Pike without too much congestion, exited easily at the Prudential, and came up Huntington ready for my daily turn onto Parker.

There at Huntington and Parker something was doing. The light there is interminable anyway--it's as if some sick traffic officer set up the timer to infuriate anyone heading thataway. But today I could not even see the light as it was blocked by a truck or two and several autos were waiting to make the turn.  Highly unusual for such a long line of cars to be there waiting to make this turn.  That was the bad news. The good news was that I was listening to one of my favorite late 60s crooners--Gordon Lightfoot--and had multiple opportunities to hear his rendition of Me and Bobby McGee while I waited for the wagon train to move to the light.

I put the song on repeat, and paid attention to the lyrics in the detailed way I rarely do.  A line from the song engaged me in a way that it had not before.  "I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday, holding Bobby's body next to mine."

I purged the hyperbole and began to consider the idea of trading any tomorrows for a single yesterday. Would you? Should we?

I can think of some very special yesterdays.  They were special not in the way that sometimes ordinary events take on an idyllic utopian hue because we photoshop the recollection in hindsight. They were special--even if we did not realize just how special at the time.  Would I trade tomorrows, even a single tomorrow, for such a yesterday.

It's tempting. Today is a Wednesday.  I've got nothing special planned for tomorrow, Thursday.  Should I, if I could, trade it in for a day when I was, as the song goes "holding [someone special's] body close to mine?" We can all remember such days.  

Not sure. Certainly would not trade in all my tomorrows.  But even any tomorrow has the potential to be a special day.  Those who have lost family members or lovers, and who over 25 hasn't, know how much we can long for a single yesterday--but trade in tomorrows?  The more healthy wish is to duplicate an especially singular yesterday or to do what we can in an attempt to repeat them. Can't do much about death--can't repeat an event with someone who is gone.  But we, the living, I think would be wise to keep our tomorrows and cultivate the turf so that our future may include replicas of our most cherished yesterdays.

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