Really Now, How Long Can You Carry That Torch?

The Olympic torch is out now. Most torches of most kinds across the world eventually go out. But not that special one you and I are carrying in our hearts. You know the one, or maybe more, I’m talking about!

It’s an eternal flame you’ve kept lit all these many long years. Most likely its fire burns for that special someone from your past. You remember. So young, so vital, so indispensable to your life that you still can’t quite understand how you’ve survived this long without them. Or maybe the fire simmers for a remarkable place in your travels. Or a remarkable time in your country. Or some gossamer dream you’ve hid in the secret chambers of your ambitions, safely away from the laughter it would probably bring.

Somehow, somewhere, there’s this special someone or something looming in this mists of your memories. It’s been so long you can’t exactly make it out anymore. Probably, in the insistent adult demand “to grow up,” you’ve even stopped trying. And yet you and I know it’s there. With a thin but inextinguishable life of its own.

This torch is what our balladeers sing for us late at night [‘My Funny Valentine,’ ‘Everytime We Say Goodbye,’ ‘The Man That Got Away,’ ‘Is That All There is’]. Why do we listen? How can we not! It’s the purging a denied heart craves. The tears we feel better having shed.

By now, however, the head has learned to instruct the heart what-was-can-never-be-again. The ancient Greeks had this way of proving it: “You can never jump into the same flowing river twice.” Of course, the ancient Greeks had to admit we can stand longingly on the same riverbank forever.

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