Turn Instead

There’s a box of childhood in your closet,
Hidden, closed, and covered
Blocked by things that were useful, but aren’t
Or could be, but won’t.
Various bits of broken,
A cobweb tangle
of leavings which once served
And no longer do.

This is not a box of memories.
Those are found in the front,
Because sometimes we hold them.
Memories are like that —
Some are treasures, passed around.
Some are visited only in the dark.
And some are buried deeper than others.
But mostly we know where they are.

No, this is a box of color, and wonder,
Bright eyes and dirty hands.
It maybe was closed before you were ready,
Or badly labeled and stored in a hurry
Because you had somewhere else to be.
Or one you simply closed in absent mind
While packing away other things,
And never noticed where it went.

But there it sits,
jumbled and messy as it is.
This box is full
Of the courage to see a tiny house —
And instead of passing it by, letting it be
just another colorless thing,
To pause, and turn instead
And ask if I’d like to play with you.

There’s smoke in the chimney,
something bubbling on the stove.
A few shingles have fallen from the roof —
But it’s still some time until the rains will come,
And we’ve decided to do other things for now.
It’s a decision we’ve made.
It may not be wise,
But it’s what we’ve chosen.

And there’s a closet in this house too.
With memories and maybe useful things,
A few bits of broken here and there.
But just a few, neatly stacked and set aside,
To clear a way for the box in the back.
Which is open some at the top
And spilling its messy colors
all over the place.

Because childhood, is like that.
It’s not the type of color you see,
But one you feel deep in the space between.
It’s the weight of a warm blanket,
The smell of something bubbling on a stove.
It’s knowing that you’ve made a choice
In good conscience, and faith,
without broken things getting in the way.

It’s the reminder of a simple truth:
Light can’t enter a closed room.
And sometimes all you can do
In defiance of blocks and broken things
Is throw open the windows in a tiny house
And let them be your windows as well —
To turn instead to a friend
And ask them to share this color with you.