Today I discovered something... Google Streets! I knew it existed, I have even used it on my phone to find places more easily. What I discovered today was that they have nearly completed an entire photographic sweep of my entire hometown area. For the first time in well over 5 years I saw where I grew up as it looks in late summer. I saw where I went to school and church. I saw all the places I had jobs. Friends houses I haven't seen or spoken to in more years than I care to count. Friends lost to time is one of my biggest regrets.
I can't believe the emotions and the longing these images stirred within me. It brought tears to my eyes thinking about those days. Every experience and environment that shaped how I grew up. I don't think I honestly believed I missed these places until the moment I saw them again. It is strange how some extremely simple things can completely engulf you. The feeling is hard to describe as all truly wonderful feeling should be.
I know have the hope of visiting my old home again at that time of year when the corn fields are just turning and the leaves on the trees as still full and green. When it is hot and humid, sticky and discussing all day, and the nights are still hot but moist and refreshing. A night when you can here the frogs crooking and all the sounds of the still night. When you are in that place at that right time it feels as if you are all alone in the world. There are only a two places in this world that I can remember giving me that feeling. My old home is one, the other is a place here in AZ that I can disappear when I need too.
I miss my home... I still call it my home even though I haven't lived there in 7 years and I have a home of my own here. Family is a big part of who I am as an individual and even with the long term long distance that have separated us they still remain a huge influence in my life. Just like my friends, I have lost a lot of family to time. Not the direct family members but the cousins and aunts and uncles that helped shape life as a Birchler. The number one thing I miss... is getting up at 4 am to go start making Birchler Turtle Soup. Yeah, I said Turtle!!! You can laugh all you want, but act of making and eating turtle soup is an experience you will never forget and I will never describe it further than that. This is a tradition in my family and not many have been part of everything involved.
Just like everyone else I have endless stories of the days growing up. Being from rural Indiana I have some truly unique stories. My very large family also provides endless information that can add depth to these stories that can astound and bewilder. And those that know me well know that I can talk for hours... these stories are no exception, one leads to ten more. This diverse background is what allows me to have the insight in to everything around me that I have. It is also part of my limitation to see beyond this background and change.
I could type in this blog window all day about all the things these simple pictures have brought back. I will spare you all from that. I am going to use todays experience as a reminder to think about the past. The past creates the base on witch your life is built and to grow on that base you must reflect and understand it. I forget this too often and seem to think of life as coming in the future and not what has existed in the past.
Don't ever forget the good or the bad times. We have to remember to learn from out collective life experiences not just the ones we see as relevant. Until the next flashback!!!