Sometimes I park on the street behind my office. The ancient church that spans the block beside us clangs the hours as they pass, stained glass vibrating with the resonance of time. There is a sidewalk there that I traverse; concrete and nature collide beneath oak and maple boughs.
Today was filled with rain. Skies grey and damp sluiced the world with autumn's wet embrace. Have you seen the shadows yet? Ghosted leaves along the cement, the tannins of life leached out as decay breaks down the cellular walls that gave summer its emerald hue. The essence of fall bleeds for a time, leaf stains that paint the world in shades of bronze and rust.
I wonder, as life is both light and simultaneously dark...am I the same?
The glow of youth glimmers in jade and sage that slowly burns into amber scarlet flames. Months pass and summer wans and ochre shadows now lay along the stony walk. Eventually they will be washed away by the heavens, sifting to soil and sand...the remnant becoming the seed of next year.
Morning light burns the lingering mist from the trees as my
company van trundles over rickety brick streets, thumping to a stop at the
light. The red disk glows with a thin
damp halo, summer’s humidity already dragging hazy fingers across the cobalt
sky.Spinning tires hum over grey
pavement, weaving through the meandering pulse of the radio and my mind wanders…
I’m headed to a client’s apartment. In her 50’s, she has
curly grey hair, twinkling childlike eyes, and no one. Her family abandoned her
to an institution decades ago and there is a staggering story of her mother
throwing her down the stairs when she was six, resulting in the brain damage
that altered the course of her everything.Years on the street, raped, transient, she has lived through a hurricane
life I shudder to think about.But
now?Now she has a small one bedroom
apartment in a building that used to be an elementary school.Wide hardwood doors and long hallways still
seem to echo with the voices of children when I’m there.She loves Elvis, he’s all over her walls.Every Monday I come; she waits for the
electric buzz of my finger on the button marked 104. I watch while she methodically fills her pillbox
and I double check, counting the pastel colored marbles that equal stability to
As I drive, I can see her smile in my mind and my lips curve
in response.We’ll make a list of fresh
veges and fruit and I will run her to the corner market and help carry her
cherished mushrooms and sweet tea inside.I will wish her a lovely afternoon and she’ll thank me and hold the door
open heartbeats longer than necessary to watch me leave.I will wave and promise to come back
Wednesday.Then more pavement and
another buzzer and another pill box.
All of this quite seriously changes the fabric, the weave of
another life.It is good.Right and strong and…good.
As I drive my eyes trace the telephone poles connected by
waves of black wire, a strange aerial sea that swoops and dips up over the
hill.There is a sense of wrong so thick
within my car I nearly choke.My throat
closes, muscles spasm and my hands clench the wheel, white knuckles rigid knobs
of bone and flesh.
In a world that spills out entirely too many movies that
have themes of “she felt out of place, like she was missing her calling, until….”Am I caught up in such a delusion, such
selfishness?That while in the very
midst of doing so much right – it feels
so wrong?I feel out of place, like I’ve
crammed a literal square peg into a round hole, shaving off the corners; a pulp
of sinew and mangled skin left behind.
My co-workers are wonderful, my boss is funny and
compassionate. And I am writing nothing.I have oceans inside…instead I drive and smile and help and hug and
drive and count and smile and drive…
I am doing such good.But sometimes the weight, the palpable taste of what I am not doing is
thick and heavy inside my mouth.It
coats my hair and drips into my dreams at night, reeking like tar and
sadness.This wrongness…how can it
be so dense in the midst of such right?