You know me.
I’m the one with a collection of mismatched suitcases and a collection of keys belonging to nothing I own. I’ve given away or lost so many things yet I still feel restless, as if there’s something I forgot to take leave of along the way — something that might be taken away by force or surprise. It’s a fear of mine. I assuage it by living close to the bones, nearer to starkness than satiety, yet there are times I’m still overwhelmed, even frightened, by how much I appreciate certain comforts: A hot bath, a warm towel, a soft bed, freshly laundered clothes, a sunny day, a hand that entwines with mine even if fleeting.
Everything goes away, eventually. The only sturdy bricks in the foundation of any life are imaginary. The earth teeters and quakes, and shifting winds drive people in and out of hollow doors. Tomorrow may not be like any day we’ve ever known. It can bring tragedy or relief, laughter or pain, and there’s no way to accurately guess what might be on the horizon or in somebody else’s heart.
So I take the hot bath and grab the warm towel while they exist, while I can, and I’m filled with immense gratitude for the clean robe that hangs on the hook, even if the night is cold and my hands are empty.
Simple things are often the hardest to come by. I take nothing for granted except the transient nature of people, places, and things.
Prescience is a fool’s game, yet I keep one ear pinned to the earth, always, while the other stays aboveground. I feel a need to know what might come up from the surface as well as what might come crashing down.
Feel it, feel it, feel it. Close to the bones of the inner ear, vibrating down into the sternum, spreading across the ribs like a breath or a warning, it is the cadence of life on the farthest edge, with all of its unexpected twists and dull-eyed revelations. It’s the sparks that flare and burn, the silent revolutions, the wild heart, and the roar of every hope that’s ever been set free. It’s the seeds planted in the imagination, overgrown and uncultivated, left begging for the order of a tangible garden.
You know me.
I need a wide horizon and an endless day of sun. I need to hold a starfish in my hand and paint a mountain over my eyes. I need dirt and pine needles under my feet, and sagebrush that ambles across a barren desert, or cornflowers and daffodils that bloom in untouched valleys.
Nature never leaves. It cannot be lost or given away, and even its unpredictability comes as no surprise. It knows no malice or hunger. It doesn’t dream or love or hate or wish for better than what it has known. It wastes no time on tears, questions, ambitions, or fears. It simply exists, needing and wanting nothing more than it can provide itself.
Nature steadies the uneven plane of humanness.
I need a haircut, a rock, a bright day, and someone who knows me.
You do, don’t you?