What I Was Dreaming, Up on the Top Bunk
I remember coming home from kindergarten or first grade when we lived in the trailer park in Lowell, Indiana. I’d climb the ladder to the top bunk in the room I shared with my little brother, flop down on my stomach and open up one of my books on the “Great Explorers.”
I’m sure I’d cringe if I read those books now – they were probably written from a perspective of white privilege, glorifying the notion of Manifest Destiny and the white man’s bravery in wresting the land from the grip of the ‘savages’ who were here before him. “Those were different times,” to quote fellow Pisces Lou Reed.
But I was five or six years old and when I opened those books all of the fear and uncertainty in my life disappeared. I flew on the wings of imagination into a world where there were no roads or cars or flat Midwestern grids of cornfields and stinky pig farms. Nature ruled the continent. My heroes were the explorers like Francis Marion and Kit Carson. Men who ventured alone into the heart of Nature, driven by a passion to discover what lay beyond the borders of the map. Risking life and limb to go where none of their kind had gone before.
I knew then what I wanted to be when I grew up – an explorer! I still remember the sickening shock I felt in the pit of my stomach when I was informed blithely that there weren’t really any jobs left for explorers. All the wildernesses had been mapped, they said. But I was a stubborn kid; I hid my dream inside my heart, hoping against hope that one day I’d be able to prove them wrong.
A couple years later, I read Huckleberry Finn and my dream took on a new shape. If I couldn’t cross unexplored continents, I could at least build a raft and float down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans!
I got to have some amazing Nature experiences as a young man, camping and canoeing in Northern Michigan and tramping through the bush and up and down the mountains in Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. I learned to sail and spent hours alone on the water in various places.
Once I reached adulthood, though, that youthful sense of possibility began to fade. I found other dreams. I lived out my family heritage of addiction. I got sober. I became a father.
But I didn’t completely forget. And there’s something about islands that has always tickled my fancy. In fact, I think I’ve felt a little jolt of longing every time I crossed a bridge and saw an uninhabited island off in the distance, no matter how small or scrubby-looking it was. We lived in Waterford, Michigan – surrounded by lakes, some of which contained small islands – for a couple of years. I felt certain when we moved there that I would soon own a kayak and go exploring.
But my second child was born a month after we moved in. Money was always tight; energy was usually scarce. A couple of years passed and we moved away from the water.
This morning, one of my adventure dreams came true. I took my first kayak trip and paddled out to an uninhabited island in (almost) the middle of nowhere. Just me and the water and the wind and the birds.
As my dad likes to say, “You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.”
P.S. – Let me help you find the inner space where your dreams come true. I’m offering personal evolution astrology readings at special prices in October (while supplies last).