A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore
Like everyone, I have dreams that I plan to realize before I lay my head to rest for the final time on the satin encased pillow in the satin lined box. Some of my dreams are for myself, some for others, some even conflict with each other but that’s ok because they are dreams and dreams do not have to reside in the world were thinking is bound by the tenets of logic or rationality. One dream, in particular, is a very selfish dream, a dream that is my final dream on earth.
I have the normal dreams any parent would have for his beloved children. I want to see my kids be successful in the fields of their choosing, for them to enjoy life, for them to see each and every day as a gift to be celebrated. If they choose to have their own families, to help them raise their offspring with all the love that was given to me by my parents. I want to watch my grandchildren grow, to know my great grandchildren. At times, when my children are driving me crazy, I briefly hope to live long enough to be a burden in each of their lives.
I want to travel. I want to hop in a Winnebago and explore the Americas, live on the open road sleeping in a new location every few nights, take in all that the New World has to offer, travel the rural and country roads and happen upon everything from the bizarre to the majestic, from the off the beaten path oddities to the sleepless streets running up and down the grand cities teeming with more people than ought to be crammed into one place. I want to drive for days in the Canadian wilderness starting on the Eastern Coast of Nova Scotia all the way to Mount McKinley in Alaska before heading south along the Western Coast of the US and into Mexico and as far South as the roads will take me. From there I want to take a ship to Africa and start traversing all over the old world going with the flow of the seasons, travels as the wind travels rushing through some places, eddying in others, changing directions as opportunities enter my path.
I want to live for at least a year in another country, in one city, on one block, in one blue house encircled with a large white porch with a different view at each of the cardinal directions, my perch to watch the many faces going about their business, my launching pad to experience the many facets of a radically different life. I want to experience the rhythm of another’s culture for twelve cycles of the moon, watch as the seasons melt into each other, experience the exuberance and ceremony that comes with the holidays and festivals and the subtle contentedness of the between days. I want to immerse myself in the depths of the culture and, rising from the depths, assimilate the best of the culture within me, breaking the surface fluent in the language and customs that make each people unique in the kaleidoscope of peoples on the planet.
I want to find my one and only, the woman that knows me completely as I completely know her, knows my inner secrets, my dark side, my strengths, my weakness yet still loves me, still wants to share every waking moment for the rest of her life nestled safely in my heart. I long for the type of a woman that inspired the poetry of Pablo Neruda when he penned:
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
My selfish dream, the last dream I ever want to move from fantasy into reality is this. I want to live a long life, a life so long my hair is stark white, my body weathered by experience, my face creased with deep lines from much laughter, a life that sees me healthy and coherent and loving to my final day. I want my family to live the same prosperous life. And, when I breathe my final breath, I want them to all still be alive. I want to be the first in my family to die for my heart could not bear to see any of my kin suffer, would suffocate under the burden of seeing any of them pass before me, would shatter at having to live with the hole created when they went to the other side.