WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES: Imagining a way to return to a golden age is bittersweet

(Photo by Álvaro Alvarado)
Sophomore Gabi Alvarado’s friend and neighbor explores some rocks on Vancouver Beach in the summer of 2010.

Sophomore Gabi Alvarado, who enjoys writing, will blog biweekly on the origins of her creativity and artistic vision.

Last night I was listening to an album I own by John Lennon, and the song “Imagine” came on. I remembered our lesson in sophomore English about the Golden Age and how Ms. Fels played that song in class. Then we talked about a past golden age, something that we look back on and try to return to, but we never can.

I have had several golden ages – or, I suppose, times that I have glorified into being perfect. One occurred when I was in lower school, and I had a neighbor who had adopted three children with whom I would play all the time. We were such close friends that my dad made a gap in the fence that separated our houses so we could run to each other’s backyards faster and not have to run all the way around into the driveways.

Our neighbors built a playground structure in the back of their yard with a plastic spyglass attached to it. We pretended to be pirates up in that tiny, wooden structure in the sweltering heat of Sacramento summers. We watched Peanuts movies, made chocolate-covered bananas and feasted on pizza, sparkling lemonade and watermelon slices.

Some weeks of the summer we would go up to their beach house in Vancouver Island, Canada. There we took walks along the beach every morning and made the best oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies on Earth. At night we would take midnight dunks in the ocean and go tubing out to a floating platform that we’d jump off of into the bay.

I know our childhood wasn’t perfect. We didn’t have perfect lives, and the happy hours we spent on the beach weren’t the entire summer or our entire lives. But that’s how it seems now, looking back.

In our last English class Ms. Fels said that a golden age can be in the future, too. This got me thinking.

Most of us probably dream of a golden age in our future: we hope for success, make plans, idealize and strive for the best possible outcome. So we can be between golden ages, looking back at perfection and imagining perfection in the future. We treasure the things that remind us of our past golden ages, and we work to maintain our dream of our future golden ages.

That’s how I get through the bad times, the times I can’t pretend are perfect. That’s how I can sleep at night when it’s hard to get up in the morning. That’s how I push forward in the dark.




There was a time of hope and love.

At night we would lie on the grass,

And watch the turning stars above.


Pirates, looking through the spyglass,

We would sail through the perfect days—

Not noticing as time would pass.


When my mind is forced back a ways

To that so golden, happy time,

I long to return there, always.


I let go, committing a crime.

Now I regret leaving that place.

But again I’ll be in my prime.


Now I’m not in a time of grace.

I’m in a break in a lark’s song.

I’m floating out in empty space.


I work for new joys, to stay strong:

I have many dreams to maintain.

My road is well-worn, but it’s long.


In the dark my eyes try in vain

To see, but still I push forward,

Catch a glimpse of the trodden lane,

And I will always choose onward.

By Gabi Alvarado

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