It's amazing to me how certain songs can cue up such strong memories. It's even more amazing to me how my 46 year old mind filters out the negative emotions and focuses on the good…or at least the good that should have been…the good my young mind was not capable of grasping.

I had an apartment at 124 S. Lorimer Street in Cape Girardeau, MO during my junior and senior year of college. My bedroom was a basically a giant bay window that hung over the south side of the house. I could look out my east window and see over the Mississippi river to fertile plains of the Illinois bottom land. Below me, lay the river front of Cape with it's old buildings, and giant flood wall to block the high waters that inevitably came.

Every morning, I would awake to the sunlight breaking in through east window. I usually just pulled the blankets over my head went back to sleep. But often I would get up and sit in the chair next my closet and watch the sun come up over Illinois and glisten on the surface of the greatest river in America.

In the evening, I would often be studying at my desk, which, unfortunately faced the wall to the west. But I was no immune to the lure of the setting sun to the west. So I would often get up, go sit in the furthest bay window and watch the sun set over the 100 year old houses across the street to the west. Then as the sun dropped below the horizon, I would turn to the east and watch the radio towers in Illinois light up their blinking red lights.

Looking back, I realize that those were good times…good times that I wasted on the things that are important in youth…but now, as an adult, I realize they were largely meaningless. Melancholy days wasted on pinning for lost love. Days of distress over boredom with school and an inability to stay focused on my goals…I look back on those days and think of that young man sitting there in that room, not sure what was going to happen to him, seeing my goals shatter before me and I want to tell him to enjoy life and not worry about things that will (I promise) look so trivial in the hindsight of maturity.

But I guess in hindsight that it was important that I go through those times to make me appreciate what I've got and the journey that I took to get where I am today. You can't understand how good the sweet is until you've tasted the bitter.

When you're young, you don't understand that high waters come and may make things look hopeless. But if you just hold on, those waters will eventually recede…and in their place they leave a new, changed landscape, filled with fertile opportunities.

That was 25 years ago. I wonder, 25 years from now, how I will look back on these times. I wonder what I will clearly see then that I can't see today?

I look forward to that journey and all the wonders that remain to be discovered when whatever rising waters I will face in the future eventually recede….just like they always do.

Here are a few songs that triggered these thoughts tonight.


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