A while back I was driving along Mulholland when I saw a deer walking along the side of the road. It is not the first deer that I have seen there and I don’t think it will be the last, but it made me pull over to the side of the road.
It wasn’t too far away from a place that once upon a time served as a rendezvous for a high school girlfriend. It was a place where you could park your car and enjoy the view. It was daytime and the sky was bright blue and for just a moment it was just me and the deer.
On the side of the road I stopped and watched as that deer just ambled along, oblivious or at least unconcerned by my presence it paid no attention to me. Off to the right there was a great view of the Valley. Uncluttered by clouds I could see the mountains in the distance and so for a moment I stopped and stared.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about turning forty. It sounds awfully old to me. But when I think about myself I don’t feel old enough to be forty. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I am surprised to see the face that is looking back at me.
At the moment I have a very thick and unruly beard. I haven’t trimmed or shaped it in quite some time. The beard makes a good prop/disguise. If I wear a black suit and a Borsalino I look like a million other guys walking to shul. But in a pair of torn jeans, a dirty t-shirt and dirty hands I look like someone entirely different.
Sitting in the car I thought about those days in high school when we’d park the car. Sometimes I’d stare out the window and say nothing. She’d ask me what I was thinking about and I’d flash a smile and remain silent. Come to think of it, twenty years later that really hasn’t changed. I usually share my thoughts on my terms and no one else. Makes for interesting times, not why I do it, just who I am.
The deer stops to sniff or nibble on a leaf and I think about that kid who would sit in the car. The future seemed endless to him. He couldn’t envision a time where life would be as complicated as it is today. The beauty of innocence about some things has been lost, Pandora’s box torn wide open.
Inside the car I closed my eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the sun shining through the windows. I thought about driving to the beach. The thought of warm sand beneath my feet and the sound of the surf pounding the shore was intriguing.
Been a long time since I have been sailing. Been a long time since I have been out on the ocean. Thought quite a bit about it. It was quite pleasant.
I looked up and the deer was moving and I started thinking about where it lived. Had to be somewhere in the hills. Somewhere in the middle of civilization the deer and all sorts of other wildlife were just living their lives. I thought that was kind of cool.
It has been clear to me for a while that I have been stuck in a bit of a rut. I know more or less what I want, but I have been chasing my tail and not my tale. About time that I mix things up a bit. I am really good at slamming into the wall time and time again, but it doesn’t always bring about the result you seek.
So I decided that forty is a good time for a new beginning. Still young enough to write a million new chapters in my book. Still young enough to seek out new adventures and to overcome the challenges that I currently face.
I know, it sounds a bit ridiculous and over the top. But I think in graphic terms. So I am doing the best that I can to take control of those things that I can and to let go of that I which I cannot. Change really doesn’t have to be bad, it can be great. Sometimes you say goodbye so that you can say hello again.
A series of honks made me realize that I had closed my eyes again. When I looked up the deer was gone. I couldn’t begin to tell you quite where he/she had gotten to, just that the place that it had occupied was now empty.
So I started the car, signaled and pulled back onto the road. I felt a little tingle go down my body. Life was beginning again. For the first time in a while I felt that future that I used to remember. For the first time in a long time I could see opportunity.
Who knows if that was a fleeting moment or the real thing. I don’t really care. I just appreciated the moment.