It snows, then thaws, then freezes hard again, creating a crust that I quickly punch through when I try to walk on it. Later in the day, driving, I pass an older mobile home far down the other side of the mountain, where two young girls and a dog are running across the yard. The crust is strong enough to bear their modest weight, and it’s true that I’m a little jealous, but it’s also true that maybe that’s exactly the way it should be, that part of the magic of childhood is being able to do at least a few things the big people can’t: Scamper atop the crusted snow, nap whenever fancy strikes, squeeze into small places. Watching the girls and the dog, I remember riding my BMX bike atop the frozen snow around my parents house, that incredible sense of freedom to go anywhere I pleased, up and over and around the natural hummocks of the forest floor, the whole world (or at least what seemed like the whole world to a 10 year old boy from Vermont) transformed into something that defied the laws of physics as I’d previously understood them.
Pedal and swoop, pedal and swoop. Four decades ago but damned if I can’t feel it now, exactly as it was. Exactly as if all those intervening years only prove the simple truth that time is an illusion. But attention is definitely not.