Its spring again. For Willie (or Will, as he is called by his intimate friends) its one reason to be happy in this world where there are a hundred more reasons to be sad. There is something magical about this season. You need not be an ecologist to be able to say, “Here comes spring again.” He felt it coming even before he saw the signs. It might have been something about the way the wind blew. It was something about the smell of the earth. He never could really guess what it was.
“Aaah! Spring!” He stretched his hands and breathed-in the fresh morning air. He took his pen and notebook and set out for his usual morning walk. Today instead of taking the short route to the park, he chose to take the long one, which he normally avoided. The poet in Willie could feel a poem within him, just waiting to be written. He felt it in his heart; he felt it in his mind. What would it be about? Spring of course.
He crossed the empty highway and entered the park. It looks more wonderful than ever this time of the year. The trees having shed their golden leaves are clothed in greenery. The grass is fresher, the flowers more lovely. The birds too seemed to chirp much louder this time of the year. “How nice it is to be a bird!” Willie wondered.
Maybe he’s right about that. Men have wasted millions for the pursuit of pleasure, but he forgot the simple, serene experience of watching birds fly by and wanting to fly freely like them, wondering, “How nice it is to be a bird”, like Will did.
There was a lake in the middle of the park, which was Willie’s favorite haunt. He sat under a tree near the lake, and began contemplating about his opening lines for the poem. He looked from one thing to another, searching for inspiration. It was then he noticed how beautiful the lake looked. He felt as if he never really appreciated its beauty. But it was something he felt each time he saw it. The water was calm and clear. He leaned forward, near the water’s edge. His eyes fell on his own image in the water. “There, that’s me – poor, wretched and miserable”, he thought. He recalled; he had not used a mirror for about a week now. His dark hairs had traces of white even though he was only a little more than twenty-eight. His hollow cheeks and haggard looks made him look much older than what he actually was.
His Dad had called him last night. He did not sound pleased at all. In fact, he was very angry. He almost shouted,” Son, I have been really really kind to you all these years. I have shown much more kindness to you than you deserve. But this cannot go on forever. Take up a job; learn to be responsible. Be a provider for yourself because you cannot bank on me to pay your bills forever. I must warn you this is your last chance to prove yourself. I am sure you do not want me to disown you.”
Will’s Dad did not understand him, he always felt that. He knew there were things besides earning money and being rich. Yes even if the readers have been introduced to Will as a poor man, he actually had a rich father. But they fell apart when he was twenty-three and Will has been living on his own since then, doing odd jobs now and then. But in spite of all these, his father helped him out of many a tricky situations.
He missed the old days. When he was nineteen, he travelled far and wide. He visited places about which people might not even have heard of. He visited France, Germany, India……….Those were good times. He still regrets that there is so much of the world to see, there is so much to feel, that it cannot all be seen and felt in one lifetime. It was back in college that he seriously considered poetry as a career option. The whole idea of breathing life to lifeless, dumb words and making them speak a hundred things was more appealing to him than any other job in the world.
“Is that you, Willie Herby”? Mildly shaken, Will turned around. It was a man, he looked like a jogger. He looked well to do but certainly not one of the filthy rich kind.
“Excuse me, do I know you”? Will asked back rather curtly. It was not his usual way of talking but all the tension between him and his father was beginning to take its toll on him and the fact that he was not a happy man was beginning to show very clearly.
“Will, don’t you remember me? All these years must have changed me a lot. I’m Jim, James Raymond-we were both members of the same club, back in college.”
Will stared at him for a minute and then the memories rushed back to his mind just as if all that had happened yesterday. He did recognise him. He was Jim Raymond. They went to the same college. They were in fact quite close companions. They were members of the same literary society. All the members thought they were outstanding poets. But the only people who understood their poetry were they themselves. It might appear very rude on my part to voice out such strong opinion. But dear readers, in saying that, I say only the truth with the intention that readers would understand what class of poets, Will belonged to.
Of all the members, Jim appeared to be the most outstanding. He was their president. And it was an accepted opinion among them that Jim would make a name for himself in the future. He was a fine public speaker. He used to make a lot of speeches. In fact more than half of the ideas in Will’s head had their origin in the speeches of Jim. He used to boast to them, how he would change the world with his verses. He used to criticize the ‘common people’ for the way they had forgotten that life is life, it is not a routine to be memorised and stuck to. It can safely be said that had it not been for Jim Raymond, Will’s life would have been different.
“Jim, how long has it been; about six years I suppose? You know I did not expect to meet you here, like this.” Will thought if he had also come to the park to write about spring like him. “Why don’t you come to my place? We can have a drink and talk poetry, just like old times. You know, talk about the poems, the speeches”.
Jim hesitantly began,” Will, I would have loved to do that but it is not possible today. I got to go to work, you see. Maybe we can get together some other time. Here, that’s my card. Call me, okay.”
Will was shaken. He haltingly asked, like a man who is slow to the response,” Jim, you’ve got a job?”. “Well yes, I work for a private investment firm. I’ve got to leave right now. Hope I’ll see you pretty soon. We can talk about all the wild and stupid things we used to do back in college”.
Saying this, Jim Raymond left our struggling poet to wander in his newly discovered information. He almost felt cheated for believing all that Jim used to say in college was for real. That moment, right there was like a turning point in his adult life. It was then he really felt verses don’t feed mouths, but it starves people to death. Truly, people need to eat their words, before they can eat their bread.
Will decided, he would talk to his father. He would take another shot at life and he would get rid of all those foolish ideas in his head. Were his ideas really worthless? Actually they were perhaps unrealistic but they were not without meaning. You might say that they did not any other significance besides being the convictions of a dreamer. I am a dreamer so probably they mean a lot to me but dear readers just pause and wonder once what we all have done with our lives. I thought life was for living it but it happens that the ones who are living life are actually said to be wasting it. I might be wrong since I am one of those dreamers wasting life.