Most of my high school years are a pink blur of unwanted memories, dominated by a single question: “Why did I ever go to my Graduation Formal?” However, there is one bit that I do cherish.
I was in Grade 11, sixteen years old, and it was springtime in the Yukon. Classes were called off in the afternoon for a “school pride” assembly in the gymnasium. After about thirty seconds of thought, I decided not to go, instead cutting back through the forest to a trail running along the Yukon River. I was offered a joint along the way, but declined. It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny, the snow melted off most of the trees but still layered on the ground, birds chirping, squirrels chattering, and all that.
Ironically, had I gone to that assembly, I would’ve received an award for perfect attendance. This was considered the funniest moment involving me in Grade 11, despite not being particularly impressive, and I got bugged about it for weeks.
This is what I did:
I found a bench overlooking the river, sat down, and read The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.
This moment sticks with me because, with the sound of the river gurgling in the background and the bright light of sun reflected off ice and snow, the setting was utterly and entirely perfect. It wasn’t exciting or daring, it wasn’t a first kiss, it wasn’t the time I painted the school roof, but it was calm and peaceful and I had a wonderful book to read, and sometimes, that’s all you need in life.
So, while I’m glad to forget most everything else from that time if I could, this is the one errant memory I choose to keep. A memory of of complete contentment on a warm spring day.
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