In early days of the first half of my own personal century, the world in which I walked was filled with hours of grammar school, and I was "Pee Wee"---a child of such short stature it took extra steps for me to reach my destinations.
To make things worse, I had to trod a mile-and-a-half of weekday pavement to reach my school, and another mile-and-a-half to find my way back home again.
I invented ways to keep my mental self above that near-ground level and to add excitement to that grudging daily journey. I balanced tight-rope style to walk on metal-rail fences. I delivered ringing speeches atop the city's curbside stepping-blocks that stood as relics from another era. I peered in storefront windows. I invented daring shortcut side-trips. I did a do-si-do around the bandstand in the city park...
But my most imposing self-created everyday adventure was my ritual of homage to the Giant Marble Lion Fountain in the courthouse. Each day on my way home, I approached the side-door entry and set my stubby feet upon the stairs that traveled to the brass revolving doors. Then up more steps again I marched to that grand place that held the Giant Lion.
I couldn't reach to drink the water; I didn't even once consider doing that. I simply stood before that marble masterpiece that dwarfed a child into an even smaller scope yet somehow gave importance to a girl who never feared to face that monumental object.
And then I smartly turned and walked away, descending like a soldier down the many concrete steps that took me back to sidewalk level and led me home. This Giant Lion pilgrimage I saved for after-school, to crown my day.
When I was grown and married, I often told my husband about that mighty fountain. I would describe its size and the power of its face, and once again I'd share the story of what that lion meant to me.
We looked for it each time we found ourselves in that old building, and we could never find it. I finally accepted it was gone, relinquished to the memory bank that stores those things our grownup world disposes of.
Then one day we finished up some business in the courthhouse, and when we turned to leave we saw a friend and stopped to talk. We stepped aside into a minor niche for privacy, and as I turned I saw again that marble fountain of my youth!
It bore the same fine marble visage I remembered. The details were the same; yet from that vantage point my lion wasn't fearsome in the least. He was looking UP at me, and I was looking DOWN. I laughed.
The object lesson, said my husband, might be: "You can't go home again." or "Everything is relative." or "Memories of childhood cannot be trusted."
He was only partly right. My lion hadn't shrunk or changed, but I had moved along and grown. The strength I'd seen in him was now a part of ME.
"Welcome to our middle years," I whispered to him. "The lions of our childhood have become our equals... and our friends!"
---from Rose Moore's journals--pROSE & POETRY---1980s