Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thunder on a sunny day

I've been realizing that I need to walk, to walk long distance, step after step out in the world till I have seen wonders and my body grows tired. The urge has struck me in many places both home and just as often away.
My first days of college – orientation really- I needed long nighttime walks across campus, through deep sleeping professorial neighborhoods into the more restlessly drowsing main street. Traversing again and again between the two poles of this tiny town I found my transition and so my days were social and engaged.
Later, I took small sweet snacks out into the creeping English spring around lanes and lakes alone in a medieval city. Watching the Brits congenially escorting their dogs helped me feel, if not properly kinship, then at least friendliness within a lonely time.
My steel town and truly large city walks functioned as constant exploration. I saw the architectural ghosts of Europe (some a bit more ragged than others) and the tarnished marvels that neighbors even three streets down had never seen. The largest city, one I've never fully understood nor yet determined my relationship with, crawled with life on my walks. Life outcrowded life and brutalized life and surrounded and buried and nurtured life. Trees reached up before lots could even be called abandoned, and the wildlife rivals any I've seen since in fecundity and ferocity.
Beyond these small specifics, walking performs enough miracles that to describe them would doom me to the trite and overused words of a snake oil salesman or smooth tongued contractor. But, I look for it, the change, the loss, the mindless working through with my deep reptile brain, and at the same time the breathtaking cabaret dazzles my waking eyes and inspires the stories of my sleeping hours. Tuesday, I walked, despite the heat, and I saw green hearts yearning in a not-quite-solid wave of particles making my shred of sidewalk into something of motionless surfboard. I saw ants taking a dead snake back into the earth while leaving its maize and garnet colors spread across the path. Warmth bathed me and smothered the air from my face, but tiny scents and wasteful sprinkles of water sustained me.
I didn't carry food for thought with me this time, but since I stopped walking cares and concerns enough have found me to make me long to walk again. I need to walk with them, not deny them or even wear down the exclusions, unwanted changes, and witnessed sadness. That night, talk and touch and dance under cheap confetti lights kept me, but I've walked since and needed it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

red and white/spots and stripes

I saw my scars today as I wandered deep in an old tale's retelling. My dear one calls them inverse freckles: little and tiny, more or less round, dots of pale in my summer hued skin. They are not like my others; they do not each have a unique origin and memory. They are subtle and must be read together. In two summers, many miles and years away from my present, a plant took me over. Poison Ivy stole weeks from me in those awkward summers, and left behind these speckles that can hold no pigment. I love my scars like I love my tattoo. They allow me to physically carry symbols and knowledge and more than myself. These scars are the season, they are transformation, they are survival and forgetfulness and growing will.

Next week they will come out more as I play in the space where ocean and land come together: geographic doorways and wind, sun, salt. Every breath will be a ritual and welcome some new knowing.