I've lived a pretty quiet life. I sometimes wonder if I've missed out on the sage advice that is supposed to come from elders to keep you from screwing up or to guide you. I think our generation gets most of its words of wisdom from television, movies and books. Nothing wrong with that, I just feel that I can be thankful that I have one poignant moment in my real life of advice. And I have some nameless guy to thank.
It does make for a striking image. The three of us sitting around a camp fire in the pine wood forest, the light from the stars barely illuminating the dark water of the lake through the trees. Just me and my childhood friend sitting with a guy who must have been in his mid to late twenties. The light from the flames not big enough to see clearly inside the rim of his hood and under his baseball cap. I think he knew my friend but I can't remember if his name was ever said. There he sits in my mind hunched over actually saying the words "I want you to know something important, something I wish I had known" The advice was to my friend, this young boy. I think we were fifteen at the time... maybe a bit younger. My friend was staring blankly into the fire and I was right next to him trying to stay as still as possible. It felt like I'd stowed away along on some ritual right of passage for boys and if I moved at all the guy would stop talking. I don't even think my friend was listening to him. The guy said for my friend to find a woman who kept surprising him. Someone who would say lets go horseback riding rather than go to a movie.
I can't remember if he added anything to it passed that but I remembered walking away thinking that in order to find someone who surprises you, you have to be a person who is just as surprising. To be a person worth that person's time.