Back Country

Black nights spent listening to rivers run from glaciers toward the ocean. A messy swath of stars that looks cluttered to these city eyes. A band of milky white like cloud cover just thin enough to see is the band of our galaxy.

All my amigos, not quite amigos yet, go about their lives in ways I do not comprehend. I am told about it, but a fear from my culture, from my birthright, from my upbringing stings so deep I cannot sleep.

Slow archs upward take time and time sweeps away from me. The earth tilts first toward then away from the sun in a band of only so many hours before dark. Only so much time to set up a tent, eat, and hang a bag by ways I’ve never gone before.

Heavy laden bike clumsily clatters along the road, tilting first this way — then that. And I pedal slow and fast, slow and fast, climbing rises and rushing down slopes to unseen destinations and hidden treasures around bends I only heard about. And in the rush of wind and water, my heart is slowly learning all the things I learned I didn’t know I was missing.

Like how stubbornness is what made Miru from Alloy.
How bravery is sleeping alone at night and feeling safe without human interaction.
How Straer realized old systems had demanded of them things they no longer needed, like water filters. Things their bodies now made up for without their knowing.
How time is slow and change is gradual and loss feels just about the same.
How I am irrationally afraid of bears and big cats. How without facing it alone, I’d have never known.
How I habituate to wasps and hornets and a tent as my home. A little ring of fire burning too long being where my heart finds rest. And failure redefined to learning things, slowly growing, and knowing when to turn around.
How listening to one’s own self is not so far from listening to others.
How I trust those who live the things they say.

How I want to be like that, too.

With each new step, a new muscle tones, a new strength grows, a new flexibility emerges. And a new me stretches new wings from cocoons long ago made with no understanding of their purpose at the time.

Four is the number of death, yes, but the wheel always feeds life.

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