Ten Years Gone

I first heard this Led Zeppelin song when I started listening to the radio back in the 6th grade. I always liked the guitar riffs in it and loved the complexity of the melodies. I never really understood the lyrics, and reading them didn’t help much. They just sort of conveyed a feeling of yearning for some bygone time. When I found out the title, “Ten Years Gone”, that yearning feeling grew in my imagination.

I was 11 years old when I first heard it and maybe almost 13 when I first bought the Physical Graffiti album and discovered the title of the song. I was a kid, then, barely ten years after any sort of thing. The stuff ten years gone in my past was far, far behind me and wasn’t the stuff of yearning. So I imagined then what my life would be like in ten years, when I could reflect back on that moment.

It’s now 30 years later, give or take some months. The song came up in my mix and I had to sit back and reflect on what happened to that young boy from 1979 or 1981. I put the song on repeat and started this note.

I closed my eyes and saw the world as I saw it back then, looking out of my second story bedroom window on the yard below. Yes, I’m older and more experienced, but there’s still a part of me that’s 11 years old. I still look into the world and find a way to discover its magic in spite of all the evil that tries to get in the way. I love to discover new things, to find the good on the planet. It’s there, and my heart is open to receive it.

Now that I’m 42, there’s plenty in my life that’s now 10 years old or more. Have I been a good steward of the life that 11-year-old bequeathed to me in all my annual incarnations? Have I done right by the boy that looked out the window and wondered what it would be like to one day reflect on ten years since something happened? I’d like to think so. My heart tells me so, and my mind has no objections.

And I still look to that future and what it will hold for me. I truly have no idea what each passing moment may require of me, but I know if I approach the things that are coming with a heart wide open and eyes ready to see the good in everyone, I’ll find the hope that keeps me going.

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