The only home I ever remember growing up in was in a red brick house. Our red brick house was at the very top of the street. It was the only red brick house on the street. There was also a red brick driveway that I used to skip and hop from one brick to the next. Later on, the red bricks were removed and replaced with a black tarred and smooth pavement. Although much easier to walk and drive on, there was nothing like that red bricked driveway that I do missed and loved. At the very top of our street lane, there was a big yellow diamond-shaped sign that read “DEAD END.”
As a child and teenager, I rarely ever walked all the way down the street lane because, after all, it was a “DEAD END.” However, in my years as a college student and even more so in my adult years after recovering from two surgeries back to back in less than two years apart of each other, I spent my idle time walking up and down and up and down and up and down some more. I walked with others. I walked alone. The crunch of the leaves under my feet. The golden and crimson hues of the leaves. The fresh air. Being in the company of Mother Nature was the greatest gift I could ask for in my time of contemplation and reflections about my life. I was helping myself. This was my therapy. This was my healing process.
Always at the very end of the street lane was the dead end. There was nowhere else for me to go but back up again to home. In my walks down that street, though, I met neighbors I had never known. I met a veteran who fought in World War II. He had deep wrinkles etched in his sandpaper smooth skin and a gap toothed grin. He proudly showed off his prized homegrown heirloom tomatoes to me. I saw beauty I had never seen before. The very last house on the right side was a whole band of bamboo shooting out; Bend, but not break. In that house was a classmate two years younger than me who I had bonded with when I was in middle school and high school. After high school, life continued on and we parted ways. I would see the bamboo and I would see there was nowhere else to go, but I came to learn in my life that there are many people you meet along the way and a whole lot of magic that defies logic. Most of all, there is always somewhere to eventually go and that ‘dead ends’ in life cannot stop us, but have the greatest power to restart us and force us to move due to a guttural and ingrained survival tactic and survivor that is in all of us.