What It Feels Like to Come Alive

Once upon a time I built a house, made of wood and wool, and within that house I built a couch, a small couch, just the length of myself from tip to toe (a happy accident) and on a dark and stormy night (strange shadowdance of branches through the window at every lightning flash) I lay upon it.  

Memory of other nights: streetlight shining in through slats of white plastic blinds, the wax and wane of headlights across dark shadowed walls.  Blinking electric clocks, surreptitious screen shine of lover or husband checking their phone, sirens, low throb of bass from a neighbor or passing car, the click of a lighter on the front porch, soft woosh of the refrigerator door opening and closing.  Green of money, not moss.

Loneliness like a hole in the world.  

From the tiny couch I can hear, just on the other side of the wall, the steady dripdripdripdripdrip of water from the edge of the porch awning and small cascades and waterfalls coming down the trees.  Rain on the metal roof is a staccato thunder echoing through the small space.  A comforting loudness.  Water is life.

This place I’ve found: silverglow through the skylight on full moon nights, fir branches reaching through the open window to rest on my cheek as I sleep, the soft crunch of deer hooves on the leaves, the hoot and call of owl and coyote all night.  

Loneliness still but loneliness of an animal wanting to be touched, the longing of an alive thing that found life like a gift already unwrapped and given freely.

I’ve fallen asleep and a BOOM just overhead has me standing at the window before I know I am awake.  The sky is starting to lighten and I can see trunks bend and branches thrash in the wind.  I watch the trees and the trees watch me back.  They seem to be enjoying themselves in this wild rumpus storm.  I stay there for a long time, upright and swaying, one hand to the water-streaked glass, holding my place amongst the dancers in this moment between waking and sleeping, between dark and light, between human and other.   

Wet moss green ferns rise reaching toward the shuttered sun shining behind grey clouds, water gone wild in the wind and the weather, awake aware alive alife. There is something here that we cannot feel without attention.  

What if: it wasn’t something that had to be thought.  

What if: it was only something that had to be felt.  

What if: it wasn’t something that had to be decided.  

What if: it was only something that had to be breathed.

I wake again at midmorning to a house gone green with tree-washed sunlight.  Like being underwater.  Outside the forest has stopped thrashing and dances gently. Golden leaves fall like snow.  I hold my hand up to my face and watch the shadows play across my skin.  There is a presence here with me that never leaves.  Loneliness is a lack of seeing.  Despair is a small grey room.  The wild rumpus goes on with or without us.  
The dancers reach out their hands (webs of moss between their fingers).  Will you reach back?




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