I walked by the Glenside Community Pool today. It was closed for the season, of course. It always looks so sad in September. You remember the tangle of swimsuits and colorful towels, the ice cream truck, and the sounds of kids shouting with those high-register squeals that only kids can make. And now they're gone, the ghosts of a dozen summers that all run into each other.
The sight of it did something to me this morning. I thought how silly it is to fear man when life is but a vapor. I have been at that pool when I was worried to distraction about how I looked in a bathing suit. What a waste of emotional energy. How cunningly the devil traps us into living in unreality.
I thought not only about the pool but all the chapters in my life that have now flowed into the slipstream years, to the tune of Poe's bleak raven: "Never more." Ever notice how casually you say good-bye to a friend you will never see again? "See you later, Diane." "Yeah, see you, Andrée. My mom's waiting in the car. Gotta go." Then you each pick up your cap and gown and certificate and exit different doors of the auditorium as if you'll run into each other in the hallway next week on your way to World History.
This doesn't have to be morbid; the epiphany is also liberating: If such is the way of human existence-soon over, and not with a bang but a whisper-then I will take a chance and talk to you about something real when our beach blankets happen to touch at the Glenside pool. No need to worry about my appearance in a bathing suit. Anyway, no one even noticed. Or if they noticed, no one now remembers.