I don't know how or why coincidence had me stumble upon this picture last night, but I have never felt such a powerful wave of some indescribable feeling wash over me before. A picture from a dozen years in my past. It amazed me that I could still be so young yet still find parts of me that were so far gone from my youth that I was still old enough to experience such nostalgia. The feeling was so intense that I would have started tearing if it weren't for the presence of another person in the same room. I swore I could've looked at it for the rest of the night, or at least until King Raam's keyboard chimes brought me to a most child-like sleep; possibly one I hadn't experienced since this consoling age of six.
Six was when we used to go there, three, four, five times a week. We were so young back then; so young that most of us couldn't find riding pants small or tight enough for our skinny little legs. We were little girls like little boys, loving nothing more than our horses and having no clue of the worlds they were yet to take us to. We weren't strong or tall enough to lift saddles over our heads and onto the backs of the massive animals that we were so adamant about conquering and loving and making our own. Posting trot was complicated at first learn, and cavalettis were the greatest accomplishment! We were such beginners at everything: riding, tacking, care, friends... we were so naive of the world of things we had left to learn, and the never ending years we had left to experience. Nothing mattered more than riding my bike to the barn and parking it in the mud right outside the main stable. Nothing mattered more than a horse's lips batting at the palm of my hand at the sight of a cookie or carrot. Nothing mattered more than six.
And I have never felt this nostalgia before because I have never taken any time to remember the carefree years of my life. Perhaps it's because they weren't long enough ago. Or maybe because I've just recently left the Neverland where I could be that tender age forever. Or maybe even because I'm trying to keep myself convinced that my current years are still a part of that carefree period of my life and I don't have to worry about nostalgia until years and years from now. Regardless, the change of things can't be denied; now it seems that nothing matters more than making sure there's a sufficient stock of alcohol in the freezer, cigarettes in the pack, and sex in the bed. Now it seems that nothing matters more than making sure there's even enough time to enjoy oneself, rather than the time when six provided us with all the time in the world. Creemees* don't give us that heightened sense of happiness that only similar things like chocolate, Hostess cupcakes, and Hawaiian Punch had the ability to give us. Now they remind us of the treacherous world of weight gain and the acquisition of a metabolism somewhere in the process of puberty. Now it matters if our skin-tight pants aren't quite skin-tight, and something must be done to fix it. Now it matters if girls want to act like boys, and the name-calling and the racism and the downfall of security commences. Now it matters if we love only the animals in our lives, and it's seen for some reason that only those in love with other humans are the truly happy ones.
It seems that we are no longer six, my friends. We're tall enough and curvy enough now, our pants are tight enough now, and for most of us, those four-legged loves of our sixes are long since gone and with brains the size of peanuts, have most likely forgotten about us and don't live to experience the same nostalgia as we do. Yes, it seems that we are no longer six, my friends, but all isn't lost just because. Nostalgia is inevitable, and with my first ever feeling of its knock-out hit coming to me as I sat in my comfortably lit living room on a Tuesday night, 3000 miles and thirteen years from six, I'd have to say it felt pretty damn good. It didn't feel like sex, or being drunk, or burning yourself on the side of the grilled cheese pan. It felt weird at first, like a slightly painful twitch that I didn't know how to explain any other way than going back to six itself. But after a few seconds it started to feel incredible, like although things had changed, worries had grown to proportions that would have seemed unthinkably tremendous if contemplated as a six-year-old, and motives of how to use up the timelessness of six had long since turned into strategic blueprints for how to successfully manage the ever-shortening amounts of time of near adulthood. It seemed that we were no longer six, and painful that only felt for one quick moment, before I realized the beauty of it. Suddenly nothing felt nicer than a friendly reminder from the companions of six, to remember every once in a long while the way things were before they changed, and to make sure it was never forgotten so that it could always be revisited.
*"Creemees" are a term I've only heard in Vermont, and everybody everywhere else seems to have absolutely no clue what they are, so for you out-of-the-awesome-loop non-Vermonters, I will clarify that a "creemee" is just another term for a soft-serve ice cream cone.