No Going Back

In a somewhat pensive mood, today.

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We all try to do it in our own way.

Me, I walk the woods and hills, trying to recapture

That half-remembered birdsong from my childhood.

Looking for the clear nascent sunlight,

And the cool morning breath of a magical wild rose.

 

Others revisit old haunts,

Tread half-forgotten streets and peer in shop windows,

Leaf through foxed and fragile pages

Of Peter and Jane, hold china dolls,

And gaze wistfully at black and white seasides.

 

It’s more than elusive,

But what they have in common,

Is leaving today behind.

Maybe, what I’m really searching for,

Is a different me,

Although I wouldn’t want to be a teenager again.

 

And if you haven’t tried it,

If you haven’t caught the sound of yesterday,

Or smelt the stale cooking and damp mothballs

Of a long-dead indulgent aunt,

Then perhaps you’re still too young.

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39 thoughts on “No Going Back

      1. kath1948

        This piece left me with a odd sadness. I never thought I would be my age……youth just don’t have the ability. One has to evolve….before understanding. I also, would not want to re-do my teens. I’ll accept a back to the future of about 20-25 years, however. Yes, I would love that.

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        1. I know what you mean, Kathryn. Internally, I always feel I’m about 32 or 33 – I’ve felt that age almost ever since I really was that age. I’d go there again, definitely. Perhaps I feel that was when I’d left the worst of the stupidity of youth behind me…

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  1. I’m frequently amused by very young people (teens/early twenties) who look back fondly to their version of nostalgia and I think “just wait…” and remember my parents saying that to me! I like your sentiment. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I’m often looking back – but I do try to be aware of the present and think of the future too… all keep me rooted.

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  2. I think this is so evocative; you’ve captured something that is hard to define. Having moved back to a place I grew up in after four decades away, I’m literally walking into it every day.

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  3. We all look back with fondness at moments from our past and perhaps attempt to grasp some of those moments more than others but in truth I don’t think we really want to be young again. We are just remembering feelings, people, and places. I love looking back and immersing myself in those memories but definitely love living life today.

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  4. How well you capture the sensation of the past becoming more present as we grow older. And it’s not about wanting to go back – it’s more about seeking some of our earliest pleasures, often from days when we were too young to regard them as pleasures. Just more a sense of place and of being.

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    1. Certainly nostalgia, Somali. Whether there’s any maturity there, I’m not so sure! And as for nonchalance, I’m really not certain. I think as we get older, the subject becomes a little too serious for nonchalance.

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      1. Maybe I didn’t use the right words here, Mick. What I meant was that along with the nostalgia that the memories bring, I sense a kind of detachment and acceptance of the past that comes with maturity. Somewhat like a photo album which gets you nostalgic but you don’t yearn to go back to those days.

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        1. Possibly. I was being slightly self-deprecating with the maturity comment, but I do really wonder how much detachment and acceptance I really have. As I get older I do find I yearn more for the past, which I know is a reaction against much I dislike about the modern world.

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  5. I suppose I’m lucky to not suffer much from melancholy, but then maybe that’s because to a degree the “good old days” are now. But I know what you mean about those old memories.

    Nicely written.

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  6. There may be a wave of nostalgia in the air because I’ve been feeling a similar way myself. Pining for the old days, the lazy, simple days when my oldest boys were young and I was a young mom. I can almost feel them inside me like an ache. Thanks for writing this. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

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