At birth quickly we open up. We taste, touch (with even our mouths), and we listen. We learn taste, color, sounds and language rapidly. We learn to love, to hurt, and to share.
At a certain point we change. After expanding for days and years we start to retreat. We stop touching the bark of trees, we stop digging our hands into the mud. Since we already have a caricature of what they feel like, why touch them again? We stop looking up at the sky, listening to our kids laughter, at the color of people’s eyes, at the softness of children fingers, and at the wrinkles that adorn our elders faces.
As time goes by our physical body also retreats. Our eyes don’t see light as bright. Our ears are not able to discern as many sounds. Our skin thicker can’t feel as well. We can’t travel as far. We can’t visit loved ones. Our space slowly shrinks to one room, one bed or our own minds.
Nothing is sadder than our mind’s retreat. We don’t listen anymore. People talk and we can’t wait to tell them what is in our minds or go back to whatever important task we are working on. We can’t be budged from our positions set in stones years or decades ago, even if those positions were set in a world that doesn’t now exist.
I fight against this every day. I try to touch things I have touched a million times before. I look at my love, and try to figure what has changed from the last time I looked at her. I try to imagine how the sun looked when it was brighter than it is now. I try to lift my head and look, listen and touch my kids, my love and the beautiful world around me.
This is not to say that I am perfect. I fail on many days.