Of dreams gone by

Of dreams gone by


“Of dreams gone by” is a prepositional phrase. In sixth grade Mrs. Siberski made us memorize about 70 of the most common prepositions in the English language so we would know how to treat them properly in our writing. She would tell her sixth graders that you shouldn’t start a sentence with a preposition anymore than you should start one with a conjunction. But as any good student of music theory knows, the rules only apply until you know them well enough to break them. I’ve always been good at breaking the rules. (This coming from the kid who once tried to play wiffle ball on the street while still crossing at the corner because he didn’t want to jaywalk.) One personal rule I used to have was that I would write on my blog at least once a week. That rule, which was broken often, finally became obsolete 5 years ago today when I wrote the last post here on joshmorton.com.

I’ve always been interested by the notion that at points throughout our lives, we do something for the last time. Sometimes we’re fully aware of it, but often it happens very unknowingly. I knew when we were playing our last high school baseball game, I knew I was singing at my last Chorale concert, I knew I was working my last service at Frontline Arlington. We are usually quite prescient of these events, often marking them with emotional speeches, ceremonies,  and reminiscence. But these are not the events that intrigue me so much. What’s much more fascinating to me are the ones we’re completely unaware of: at some point in time, I walked out the front door of a house at 707 E. 41st street, never to walk through it again.  In the moment I had no idea I’d never see that little house again; I was simply leaving it to make the long trip back to DC. Months later, the house was sold, and by the time I made it back to Indiana it was a parking lot.

Of course often the unknown last times are markers of tragedy in our lives. On a Thursday in late August, I took the last flight lesson I’d ever take with Aaron, my flight instructor, in the seat next to me. Ten days later, he died in a crash during a flight lesson. I remember standing out on the ramp with him waiting to go flying that cloudy Thursday. Our plane had some mechanical issues that needed sorting out, and we were passing the time talking with the pilot of the helicopter parked next to us. Retrospectively, I remember that point in time so vividly; yet neither one of us was aware or even considering it was the last such chat we’d ever have.

After five years, I suppose I couldn’t handle the thought that I had done my last serious writing. It’s something I’m far too gifted at, and enjoy far too much, to have a last time so many years ago. Just in these 500 short words, it’s been evident to me how rusty and out of shape my writing is. All the evidence you need is in the number of times the word “I” appears in this post. So I intend to get some of my form back, and brush up on a talent long gathering dust up on a top shelf somewhere. And I want to start by addressing the last five years of my life, at least in part, for I feel it a shame to keep it to myself.

So that’s what I intend to do for a while. Below I reposted three of my favorite old posts, posts that made people think and feel and ask questions. You’ll be able to get a glimpse of how this blog used to be and to what it may one day return.  But for the next few weeks, I want to focus on what’s happened in my life since November 17, 2007. And while in the end the narrative is one of healing and redemption, I want to warn you that much of the story is about darkness, poor choices, and missed opportunity. Yes, along the way we’ll get to rehash learning how to fly airplanes, meeting new friends, and the blessing of an unexpected chapter in my life. It will not always be an easy read, not always a fun one. But it is a story too compelling, a story the demands to be told. It is a tale of dreams gone by.