Hoops, Roots and Leaves

One of my favourite ways I spent time with my father while growing up was playing basketball. We’d play most days on a makeshift court, essentially a piece of somewhat flat ground at the edge of the woods where he had attatched a backboard and net to a tall pine. Roots, grass, low tree limbs and stumps became obsticles and natural contours during the countless matches we played.
My father has always been quite fit, so what youthful energy and superiour height I had did not give me much, if any, advantage over a man who has been active in sports (and was a gym teacher, a role that surely is as trying as many sports) for nearly all his life. Most of our matches were closely contested, and I seem to recall him rarely taking it easy on me. I still look back at that friendly competition fondly.
This evening we again took some shots on that old, broken-but-servicable dirt court. It was quite nostalgic for me, and was a surprising highlight of the day, which involved a fair amount of quality time with my parents doing some gardening and sharing meals. Though I do enjoy my life in the city, I often miss the simple joys of spending time with my family.

With whisps of nostalgia still clinging to my head, I took a look through an old wooden toy box that my father built for me when I was a toddler. Inside I keep the last of my possessions that I don’t have in my room at the apartment. Yearbooks, stuffed animals, photos, scrapbooks and other keepsakes stay within it and are kept safe, holding their memories for when I wish to recall them.
While looking through the five yearbooks I found it hard to believe it was only 3 years ago when the last of them was given to me. I feel fully removed from that period of my life, something I don’t believe I was aware of until tonight. I’ve certainly changed and learned a great deal since those days, and I’ve grown apart from nearly all the people I knew back then. I remember swearing it wouldn’t happen, that my friends and I would somehow deny the odds. Today I can count the friends I have communicated with in the past year on just one hand. I find that quite sad, to be honest.
It’s odd who I think of most out of the people I knew during my time in school. Aside from some dear friends I still hear from, I mostly recall the people I had only the most minimal of friendships with, the people who I listened to more than talked with, but who held my interest. Sometimes there are those questions of what are they doing now, and could we have been better suited friends than others I associated with?
Nostalgia is a strange and powerful force, as is memory. So much of both are loosed by the slightest triggers and are easily forgotten by the conscious mind. Human memory is truly remarkable, and usually wonderful. The Wonder Years, a television show that captured memory so well, expressed the joy well when it said, “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”

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