I want you to do an exercise for me – and I want you to do this because it’s really important. I want you to take a minute or two to pretend you’re somewhere else. I want you to pretend that you are up on that farm in Connecticut, the one that backs right up against our mountain. I also want you to pretend that you’re an old man. And as an old man, you have a job to drive a big tractor, drive it through some really big fields. Driving the tractor has one use for you and one use only. That use is to cut hay. Tall golden hay that grows from beautiful green grass. Now, imagine that you are that old man driving that tractor and you are cutting hay really early in the morning. So early in the morning, in fact, that there’s dew all over it. Dew that creates sparkles – sparkles that sway back and forth in the small breeze that passes through every so often.
Now, imagine that you are driving that tractor and you’ve been driving it for some time. For a time that’s long enough for you to be getting a little bored. Imagine getting so bored that you start looking around and just by being bored and looking around, you rediscover things you’ve forgotten about. Say that you notice there is a wood line right up against your farm and it leads to a small path straight into New York State. You’ve definitely never noticed that small path before because all you’ve ever done is concentrate on cutting hay. And since you’ve become a really old man and life is becoming tiring, you don’t really take the time to notice too many things anymore.
Say that on this particular morning, you are bored and you are looking around and you happen to look straight back to the edge of the farm. Straight back past the long early morning shadow your tractor is casting and straight towards that brilliantly lit wood line. Now let’s just say that on this particular morning, as you look back to the edge of the farm, you see someone standing there.
That’s right – you see someone standing there right next to a small concrete post. Now let’s just pretend that the person standing there is a little boy with red hair, red hair that is long and curly. And he is holding in his hand a dandelion. Pretend that the little boy is just holding on to that dandelion with both hands and is twirling that dandelion around. Now let’s say that as you are looking at that little boy with red hair, that little boy smiles at you. He smiles at you and stands there and watches you cut hay. He just stands there and smiles as he watches a real farmer cut real hay on a real farm – and he’s all alone. Let’s imagine for just one minute more that you smile back. You, an old man, smile back and continue to cut that hay.
Now let’s imagine that you continue cutting and the next time you look up to see that little boy, he isn’t there anymore. That little boy is gone. That little boy has disappeared into the woods somewhere. Let’s imagine that you never see him again, ever again in your entire life. Let’s keep going here and pretend for a few more seconds. Let’s pretend that the time comes for your life to stop and you know it. Let’s say that it is time for your life to be over and it doesn’t matter to you one bit because there is something that happened to you one day that made you feel better about yourself. Better about yourself because you were sad on that day you were out in that field.
Let’s pretend that one day, you were cutting hay and you looked up to see a little boy at the edge of the field you were working on. And that little boy smiled at you, smiled at you with a beautiful smile that only little boys can give. A little boy who smiled at you and who was holding a dandelion in both of his hands. Let’s pretend that the little boy who was standing there made you smile too. Just by looking at him standing there, he made you smile. But not back at him – back at yourself. The little boy on the farm that day made you think back to when you were a little boy. A little boy who always wanted to be a farmer. A farmer who would some day cut hay very early in the morning, hay that would cover with sparkles and hay that would sway back and forth with the small breeze that would pass through.
Now let’s pretend that you are long gone. You’ve been gone for years – so many years, in fact, that almost everyone has forgotten about you. No one mentions your name anymore, but there is one person who does remember you. A person who remembers you all the time. A person who remembers you every single time he thinks of his family’s mountain that borders a big, beautiful farm in Connecticut.