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Icky • Posted: Jul 26, 2010 03:53:45Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

I woke in the middle of the night recently. I'd had a dream. That word was in the dream, "Icky".

We move so fast through our lives. We move. The world moves. We change. The world changes. It may seem sometimes like nothing changes or is ever going to change. But it does. Stuff we knew and relied upon crumbles or is swept away. People we care about move on. People we suspect will never change we leave behind. But they do change, as do we. We all get older.

Within the dream I revisited a commercial photo lab I'd worked in nearly 30 years ago. Many of the rooms were still the same, revolving doors, orange lights, dusty dark curtains, trays of chemicals glistening in the dim amber light, the sound of water running. They were still using some of the same equipment too, equipment I'd worked on, enlargers, copy cameras, automated film processors. But there were also new things that weren't there before, digital scanners, rows of computer monitors for color correcting and retouching, ink jet and laser printers, large ones that would do huge murals to match the enormous murals we used to do photographically. And then there were the faces. Many were young, in their late 20's early 30's, who'd hardly been born when I'd worked there. But then there were a few who I could only just recognize, guys who had been there when I was, guys I'd talked to over lunch or during break, guys who I'd solved problems with, who had shared stories with me from parts of their lives outside work, guys who I'd laughed with over jokes and bitched with over management's refusal to budge and even butted heads with over things.

What so surprised me was that even after so many years, those few people who'd been there when I was remembered me, they recognized me, they even came up to me and had things to say. One of them who'd changed so much I didn't recognize him came over and stood by me, giving me a chance to recognize him. But I didn't. Even so, he eventually laughed and patted me on the back and said, "That poem you wrote, 'Icky', that one I liked so much, I showed it to my girl friend. And she said, 'What kind of poem is that?'"

Imitating her, his voice carried great sarcasm. And then he laughed and laughed. I'm not sure why, but I couldn't help but laugh too. He assured me he'd dumped her after that.

He'd changed the course of his life because of a poem I'd written. But had I? Had I ever written such a poem, a poem that I'd shared with him, perhaps a poem I'd written on one of those long subway rides through the night to and from work way back then?? I don't know. I couldn't quite remember. But he did. He remembered vividly. It had become part of who he was, who he eventually became, one of the many important small building blocks for his soul. And apparently I had helped put it there. In the dream, of course, in the dream.

Pieces, who we are, what we say, what we do, all those things are never totally inconsequential. As you move through your life, try to make them count for something you'll be proud of.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010