When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”
I drive here knowing there will be sounds I need to hear today. A dozen different frog sounds from the vernal ponds, collecting around thick wheat grass. The bigger pond is mostly silent, except for the ripples casting silent whispers.
There are birds, too, ones I can’t identify. Starlings, yes. And red-winged black birds. A pair of ducks. That’s all I know. The others fly anonymously from tree to tree.
It’s a wonder I don’t fuck this up too. Just sitting here by the pond. Maybe because there’s no one else here. If I don’t talk I can’t keep making mistakes. The words come from my mouth before they enter my brain.
Six years ago half of my mother’s brain stopped working and she collapsed on the laundry room floor and laid there for four hours alone until my dad came home from a long day of being a CPA during tax season and found her in a pile of fluid and blood.
She survived, somehow. But she lost her speech and the movement of her right side and nothing has been the same since. If I could trade places with her I wouldn’t keep fucking up. I would be speechless and motionless. You can’t do damage that way. My mother never says the wrong things now. She used to, like me. Or me like her. Not now. Now she’s just always there – half a working brain, with all her emotional capacity and memory still in tact.
I need to emulate my post-stroke mom. Keep quiet. Listen. Don’t say the things. The things are stupid. They get you in trouble. Be the person friends say “you never talk anymore” to. That’s what I aspire to be.
For seven years now my heart has slowly numbed. I hate the platitudes about heartbreak and that it means you loved deeply. I hate platitudes. But heartbreak lasts a lifetime. Reoccurring heartbreak leaves scars that aren’t particularly lovely. I feel empty of love. I feel alone.
While flicking ticks off my pants I hear a loud crack in the woods, not far away. Far enough that I don’t run. I hear it again and watch a tree let loose and fall to the ground. It is magic and terror. I can’t tell if the tree was dead before it fell. Regardless, the wind has its own plans for the trees today. I decide against wandering farther along the path, farther into the woods and retreat back to the pond.
There are unspoken paths around the water that present themselves during dry spells. I make my way to humped land above the far end of the pond where the starlings and black birds have nested. They group together and fly away, to the tree tops across the pond. I am a birders worst companion. There is no grace or elegance in my presence. But I was attracted to the view and the downed trees and the vibrant green moss. That green moss gets me every time. I have a thousand pictures of: moss in forest. moss on rocks. moss on trees. moss on moss.