It was spring. The trees blossomed. The flowers bloomed. The bright sun beckoned to us. “Come out. Feel my warmth. Enjoy this day.” And so we did. My mother took us to the arboretum and we spent the entire afternoon among the trees and flowers, delighting in their sweetness. I was young.
Still, I remember the impulse. I remember feeling so surrounded and consumed with the beauty of the world. I remember that first recognition of happiness, in its purest form. I remember wanting to mark the occasion.
And so I ran. I ran hard and I ran fast. I ran in a way that was exclusive to my childhood – not for exercise, not as stress relief, not away from something – but in a pure, primal way that required no thought or motivation. I remember that feeling well, that freedom, that urge to move my little legs just because I could, just because it felt good, just because I was young and it was spring.
I reached the top of a hill and stood there looking down at my mother and the rest of the world. I looked up at the sky. I thought I could almost touch it.
And because I hadn’t yet learned to write, I sang. I sang strong and I sang loud. I sang in a way that was exclusive to my childhood – before I had learned to become self-conscious of such things. I sang because it felt good, because I was young, and it was spring.
And so my little lungs filled with air, and my little mouth formed the words, and I serenaded my mother, and the rest of the world, with Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It was the perfect song for that perfect moment, and I remember knowing that even as a child. I remember the way I sang and felt everything else fade away. I remember believing that there was such a place, a land that I heard of once in a lullaby, where dreams that I dared to dream really do come true. I remember thinking, maybe this was it.
Somewhere over the rainbow, all days would be this perfect. Somewhere over the rainbow, I could stay like this forever. Somewhere over the rainbow, trees would always blossom and flowers would always bloom. I would always be young and in love with the world. It would always be spring.
And the thing is, after all of this time spent learning the painful lessons of what it means to be alive, after all of these years chasing down courage and a heart and a brain, after discovering over and over again that they were with me all along, I still find myself thinking, maybe this is it.
Maybe the happy little birds chirping outside my window right now have already flown over the rainbow. Maybe that I woke up with the clouds far behind me, the breathtakingly blue sky of this day welcoming me into it, means that I have already arrived. Maybe this is where troubles melt like lemon drops. Maybe I could stay like this, forever.
Maybe I will always delight in such sweetness. I will always blossom and bloom. I will always be that little girl, running and singing and almost touching the sky. Because it feels good, and I am young, and it is spring. Because if birds can do it, why then, oh why, can’t I?