growing up is like this: you’re on a train for your whole life, soaking scenes up on politely-followed tracks—until someone pulls the breaks, drops you off into a big lonely field and said,
but you’ve never used your legs before.
frequently, i find myself wanting to return to some empty garden in the past—but no one is there anymore. i wanted to stay there, in our house, with one red wall and plenty of room for desire. we planted seeds in the backyard and flowerbed—i never got to watch them grow. now i’m planting flowers everywhere i go.
it never gets easier, it just gets different. i’ve been told it only gets harder from here, but we become better equipped to handle it. i hope this is not true.
i used to promise myself i wouldn't become an adult who forgot what it felt like to be a child, but we have our limits. nothing can remain preciously untouched.
i'm usually thinking about florida and the grass there, so rough that we had to sit on our front lawn with beach towels and talk about the christmas lights. always the lights, always the wrapped up palms—artificial sweetner for a new season.
in florida, nothing changes—only hovers above the ground all sweet and secret-like. only a delightful sample of shifting; a few degrees here or a blossom there—forever soaked in heavy water atmosphere. we don’t know seasons.
we never learned how the world works in our pocket of infinite heat and swelter.
swamp and still water. nothing changes, and nothing stays the same.
not the loved and rundown beach,
not the restaurants crumbling
and closing under sun
and age. we were thirteen
& convinced we were permanent—
the only permanent thing is change itself.
we know this, so we cope with this.
farewells take up most of the square footage in my mind—or, more specifically, whatever came before the farewells: collected postcards, notes from the classroom, one rare photo of us from 2008—and knowing that i wasn’t ready to leave—even though all i wanted so badly was to set off running. some wild hand opened the meadow gate, and i, in true living fashion, bounded forward before i even took note of where home was.
as i was running, i think i had another dream about old friends again, but it wasn’t important enough to remember—or i was awake—and saw the wedding that i shouldn’t have, but instead, we were all kids again. still limber and limitless and unbreakable—until i made my first choice.
i was with the atlantic ocean and i was pliable, until i was asked to choose.
every decision ages you.
every choice cements us further into the path we chose for ourselves. several decisions into this life, you’re a real human being. a turn and a wish, what we choose to listen to. deciding our favorite hues. these mark our lives like checkpoints.
you’re allowed to carry weighty desire and infinite wishes in your chest, but it’s true—we can only chase a small few. the rest of them get left inside. we leave them at the riverbank and dive into the rushing water. everybody has their decision that changed everything—for me, each time, it’s been the choice to leave.
since i left again, i’m in a colder place now where the water doesn’t run as freely; instead, i’ve learned a lot from the snow. tiny white feathering pieces all huddled up on the field in communion. nobody talks about the way snow gathers into itself lovingly. everyone tries to convince me to love spring, but i admit, i mourn the snow. sacred dusting of the soul. everything now shines less. do you realize, too, that beginnings are best met in January?
when the snow melts, it feels like the big ugly thing has won the battle. nothing can remain preciously untouched.
days are slow. days are long. days are fast and often hard. i’m looking for balance—i can’t seem to strike it well. for the first time, summer is coming. i turn towards the summer of great peace, where we have all the post-it notes we need, and lots and lots and lots of room to dream.
moving across the country is like this: if you want sweetness, you have to make the icing.
a glance around this room teaches me i have exactly what i wanted in the first place. so i clutch the handle bars and pray for the currents to slow to a halt. i want this silly world to stop turning for a day. i would properly travel to the home of everyone i've ever loved and tell them something honest—i would tell them you need the garden as much as you need the stream.
i decided it is a matter of the weather.
i am a creature at the end of winter.
i saw flowers; this morning white, last night purple.
i can come back. i'm allowed to breathe again if i want to.
breath as motion—motion as change—change as discomfort.
and i think of Ursula K. Le Guin—she discusses the forest, and how it never dies because it changes. it is flexible.
without change, it would die—
so, we are left with two options: change or die.