I was just listening to “Stone Walls” by Three Tall Pines and it got me thinking. I can feel the heartbreak in that song, for the writer, for the seniors who relate, and for myself. Times have changed. I think about the forest I spent my childhood in and how I spent my time with all that hidden life: the trees I used to sit in for hours, the squirrels that I wanted to share acorns with, the birds and crickets that sang the most beautiful tunes. My grandfather’s ranch came to mind and the cows on his land, then the houses and barns that occupied spaces, once used in many other forms yet now belonging to strangers.
I feel like everything is gone, if not literally burnt down, but figuratively as well. All that life is something I can never go back to, it’s just gone. Who I was is gone, on so many levels. I cried because it hurts to think about it really. I miss the good parts of what was. Everywhere I looked there was something missing that used to be a part of me: my daughter, my grandpa’s land, my dad, my extended backyard growing up, my friends and family, in some way or another.
There’s nothing left for me there, why go back to something that just feels like devastation? Every time I drove by the road that led me to my grandpa’s, when I drove down the 20 and decided not to go out of my way to see my pops, when I thought about going up to the mountain, a place that no longer existed, it broke my heart just a little more. I can’t be there; I can’t live in that place, not just in my life but in my head and my heart. No longer can I exist in a time that has passed me by.
It feels terrible, facing each year with a new loss, with a new disappointment. I feel like most of my years have been spent this way. It’s because of this that the places I held dear in my heart are now black and void. No longer am I what I used to be, what I thought I was, and I can’t go back. So the only thing a survivor would do is keep moving forward even though curling up in a ball and hoping that I have the ability to cry myself to death sounds like a better alternative.
There has to be hope, for something new, for something even more beautiful. I can’t exist if I can’t find those places. So then I fluttered along, with no real destination, and I landed here. I remember being on my back porch as a child and holding my arms out. There were these really beautiful beetles, black as obsidian, with an oil slick coloring that only shone out of the cool morning shade. They would fly to me and land on my arms and I would giggle, feeling like there was some sort of power that I had, and it was mystical.
A part of me believed that that was no coincidence, that I was special. It was as if I had drawn them to me, as if we were in unison. I miss that kind of energy. Something tells me that I’m still seeking it and there are no random instances in your own story because you are a part of something so much greater, that it could only make sense as a whole, as if recognizing that we are only a thread in this entire tapestry. We’ve lost that touch with one another and we’ve lost that with the world we rape and walk on every day.
There seems to be a disease that is spreading on the planet because we have lost this connection and our energies are only feeding into the darkness. Perhaps this is why when disasters happen that people feel as if it were the apocalyptic times upon us. Maybe it feels like the end because it is the end of an era, a worldwide shift akin to plummeting down a hill with a bike, no limits, no supervision, and no understanding of what “safety equipment” meant for children at play.
I’m stifled. I need to get outside. I need to find new trees, new connections, and new places that slowly become a new part of my story. I’m not ready to give up but I’m ready to careen into the unknown off of the land I once knew. I’m ready to dive in head first. I’m ready to swim across that vast blue water, to succeed in fighting the fear of leaving that land behind and scurrying back. If it doesn’t make your heart flutter, then why stay? Let me find those places for my heart.