3/26/2007

the loss of innocence

It happens, the loss of innocence that is. It's as inevitable as death and most times, as unexpected.

Innocence is like a shiny new penny laying face up in the street; when you walk by you can't help but stop to notice how bright and new it looks, untouched, unscathed. Sometimes we bend over to pick it up, shove it down deep into our pockets, saving it for a rainy day with the hope that some of its newness wears off on us. Sometimes we glance at it, reminisce about how we once owned our own shiny penny - and then we move on because it's like staring into the sun, if you look at it too long it will blind you.

I've always wondered why innocence attracts us so. Is it because we can remember what it felt like to be naive? Or is it because it's concept has become so far removed from our own reality that we gawk at it's existence in wonder and amazement? Try as I may I cannot remember the exact moment that my own innocence was lost but I do recall waking up one day confused at my apparent 'worldliness'. The thing about innocence is that it's rarely given like a gift, wrapped pretty with a bow and a thank you card. Innocence is stolen. That shiny penny lays gleaming in the palm of your hand, sparkling as if it were worth a million dollars - and then it slips from your grip and suddenly becomes as worthless as a two dollar bill. Sometimes as it's rolling down the sidewalk you have the urge to run after it, pick it up, and hide it where no one can steal it from you again. But your feet are slow to move and soon it's fallen into the gutter beyond your reach and you let it go because that's easier than playing search and rescue for something you were not even sure you wanted to keep in the first place. After all what does innocence really get you - more admirers?

I knew that it was coming, that moment when my niece's innocence would join the other 'once shiny pennies' in the bottom of an old whiskey bottle. And now it's there, sitting on top because it's still new but with time, it will work it's way to the bottom where it will tarnish. And for now she says, "It's only a penny, not worth much." But one day not so far from right now she's going to realize that having a pocket with one shiny new penny can make you the richest person in the world.

4 Comments:

  1. AAwoken said...
    Funny you talk of pennies....the other day I was leaving an AA meeting an saw a penny on the loading dock. Not a shiny penny, an old dirty penny. I walked by and began to think. "Wow, when I was younger I would always pick up the penny" Good luck, right? I kept walking. 10 steps later I turned back and picked up the penny and put it in my pocket without even looking at it. Hmmmmmm.
    Sorry 'bout your niece. I pray for her and all the others.
    kimmyk said...
    Man I look at my daughter everyday and wonder when...I'm thankful that today she is still shiny. But if I'm being honest here? She'll always be shiny and new to me. She'll never be tarnished...she's far to precious of a gem to ever be tarnished.

    Find a penny pick it up then all day you'll have good luck.
    lash505 said...
    loved it. I love reading your post, he makes feel as if I was there.
    Gwen said...
    A shiny new penny is fun but the ones who have lasted the test of time are great too.

    Great post.

    Happy shiny pennies~

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