The Peace of Wild Things || Life in the North Country
The Sweet Spot  || Writings Page One
One More Peaceful Moment

by Del Stone Jr.

You are 7 years old again.

You are lying in a field of clover that spreads across the downslope of a gentle hill, while below you, in a valley green and prim as a bride's bouquet, the rooftops and steeples of your town peek reassuringly from the earthy clasp of maple and elm.

You have nowhere to go, and nothing to do, and time will never change this moment. You know it without putting it into words, the way you know certain things will always be good and true.

The sun is just past its high mark, almost directly overhead, and the sky is travel poster blue, dotted with puffy dabs of cumulus that cruise serenely on a brisk northwesterly breeze.

You see the wind cut swirling paths across your ocean of clover, the creamy white blooms bobbing on sighing swells of air like seabirds at rest after a storm. As the sun warms your skin, the deep, cool green draws your thoughts out of you, toward the town below, and your life, and the future.

It will always be like this, you tell yourself with the certainty of a 7-year-old. You will always be here, on the prow of your hillside on a March afternoon, your hands behind your head and the sky laid out before you like the rest of your life.

Mom will always care for you, and Dad will show you how to do things. The whole world will move along a never-ending path of warmth and safety. Only the particulars will change.

When summer settles in for its sweltering spell, you'll chase butterflies and wade the creek and light fireworks. In October you'll bury yourself in musty leaves and use the blanket at night. Come winter you'll sled down this hill along the knife edge of terror and glee, your postcard town nestled below you in icy white and woodsmoke.

Someday, you may grow older.

You may leave this place to start a family of your own and do new things.

Someday, too, pain may enter your life. A love affair goes bad, your children grow up, somebody you care about passes along.

But life is an accumulation of impressions and moments, so forget the scramble of soccer practice and the horror of piano lessons, and forsake the lust for money and influence.

There are more important things to do, such as lying in green fields where there is room to think, and time to appreciate the miracle of being alive. Tonight you will look into dusty clouds of stars and see God's infinite eye, and the hairs on your arms will stand on end.

If you have forgotten this hill then you must start looking for it right now, because the 7-year-old still lives in you. He has always been there. He always will be.

And like every lost child, he wants to go home.

I copied this essay from the Northwest Florida Daily News (page B1 - 22 March 2000 edition). It was the farewell column of Del Stone Jr., Daily News Deputy Managing Editor. After writing for that paper for many years he was attempting to find just the right words to say goodbye. He said, "I wondered how I might say goodbye. Would humor be appropriate, or should I fling one last dart at the buffoons who make life difficult? In the end I felt neither would be right. Instead, let me leave you with this peaceful moment."

I think he got it about right --- Sid Harrison - July 2001