Something Worth Savoring – Nicholas Yandell

My earliest memory
I was maybe 2 or 3
On a beach in Mazatlán
With an assortment of family.

A long stone staircase
Thin and winding
Ascended the beach
Disappeared in the city.

At the top of the stairs
Was an ice cream shop
I longed to visit
But hated climbing
The myriad of steps.

The trek was daunting
And I was tired.

I could have begged my parents
To take me back
To the close by hotel.

But that didn’t happen.

I wouldn’t let myself give in
Despite my reservations.

Even then I somehow knew
That one must experience the unpleasant
To gain the rewards they seek.

As we ascended that staircase
Step by step
I kept picturing the ice cream
Hitting my tongue.

My legs hurt
And I grew fatigued
But the envisioned flavors
Became more vivid
My motivation expanded
My imagination prospered.

By the time I reached the ice cream shop
Receiving my scoop of chocolate something
The taste sensations did not disappoint
But they were merely part of the reward.

Relief at finally arriving
Culmination of the journey
Of an active imagination
Of using willpower
To overcome physical resistance.

A strangely fitting
First core memory
Visceral repetition
Of stairs I kept on climbing
Holding back tears of pain.

No doubt on that day
I developed the tendency
To force myself onward
Whether I should continue or not
To attack the natural reactions
Mold them with the expectations
That I can do and be
Whatever my mind envisions.

This has certainly helped me prosper
But has caused some crash and burns
Forced with scrapes and bruises
Into hazardous vessels
Of misinformed design
Nearing realms destruction.

These side effects
Of self-determination
A battle of the mind
Versus the body
Mediated by a frantic heart.

Violent reactions
To inevitable failures
Breeding invasive self-censure
Nested in a human form
Just beginning its time…

There are days
When I want to return
To that staircase.

Find that child of me
Before he ascends
All those steps
So determinedly
And give him some balance.

Tell him that sometimes the pain isn’t worth it
That failing isn’t always the worst thing
Life isn’t about beating oneself into submission.

Because ultimately I’m not saying
That the ice cream wasn’t pleasing
It was sweet and satisfying
But it’s also okay to accept
That maybe the reward
Isn’t always worth it.

A lifetime of scaling
That long mental staircase
May never be enough
To perceive with clarity
That perhaps my body
Is way more in touch with reality
Than I could ever imagine it being.

Flaws of perception
May bring misdirection
But an acceptance
Of one’s true abilities
One’s self and actuality
This choice of all the journeys
Maybe be the surest path
To a lasting peace
And that’s certainly something
That’s well worth savoring.

Nicholas Yandell is a composer, who sometimes creates with words instead of sound. In those cases, he usually ends up with fiction and occasionally poetry. He also paints and draws, and often all these activities become combined, because they’re really not all that different from each other, and it’s all just art right?
When not working on creative projects, Nick works as a bookseller at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoys being surrounded by a wealth of knowledge, as well as working and interacting with creatively stimulating people. He has a website where he displays his creations; it’s Check it out!

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