The days are lengthening. The scent of the tall pines is beginning to linger. The birds are beginning to chirp come the mornings. And it is beautiful. It is simple. And I am beginning to come around again. However long this feeling will stay is of no importance. I have neglected my wellbeing in the past few weeks and I have suffered for it. I have become lesser. And yet; as with the changes of the season, as with all things, growth is inevitable. Try as we might, nothing and no one thing can remain as it is for long. Rivers flow into streams flow into lakes. Stones shift into the earth and are shaped by the life around them. No one day is ever the same, not one moment, and for now, the days are growing longer and I am better for it.
I sit in the dark of my room contemplating the vast complexity of the smallness of the infinite within the individual. What it means is little more than gibberish. Only parlor tricks. That’s all. The mind is a tricky thing. For with all knowledge comes the realization of how little we know. Within the recesses and the corridors of the mind reside memories and consciousness, cognitive thought, and the ability or lack thereof to see past one’s self. Is there something greater? Am I a part or a fraction of a piece of a whole? Do we complete one another? I will never know. A rickety and reliable little desk fan hums to my right and it sounds much like an old movie projector due to the chip in one of four blades of the fan. I’m gathering my thoughts and allowing me room to meander. I light a cigarette in the dark of my room and breathe out.
Something had stirred within me. An inexplicable and familiar feeling took hold of me. I was one day removed from falling violently ill and fevered. But I couldn’t shake it. Nor did I wish to. I had enough of my own nonsense and thinking. I needed to act, I needed action, and I needed to feel minuscule and a part of the world which surrounds us all. So it was; I left, I stuffed a few items in a small and battered and stitched backpack and I was out the door. The day was cool. The indifferent mist felt cold against the exposed portions of my body and it was enough to give me pause. And then I remembered; I don’t yield to such things like logic. True, I was not in ideal shape for what was to come but that was a part of the point of having no point at all.
Around the first bend of the road I was broadsided by a large white tail deer. I had only caught a fleeting glimpse of it but I could see that it was still shedding its thick winter coat. I didn’t bother with stopping as my breaths were shallow and labored. I could see bright flashes of white as I struggled against my own shortcomings. I had grown soft and fat during the winter. For what had once been a few simple bounds and strides for my well-traveled legs had become something of a chore. Being of a peculiarly stubborn mind, I merely shook it off and pedaled onward until the muscles in my legs, my calves and my quadriceps were knotted tight and I had no choice but to relent and sit in the rain. I had a choice to make, go on, or give in.
Miles into the trek and my legs began to return to me. The end of the road was in sight, although, it did seem a little further than I remembered. The cold mist had continued throughout the day and I was wet from head to toe. My hands were a bright red from the cold, I had gloves in the pack at my back but I did not reach for them. Roughly thirteen miles, there and back, I estimated. There was no wildlife to greet me, as I suspected due to the cold. I merely blew into my clasped hands for warmth and pushed forward.
And then it began to snow, lightly, the snow began to fall gently and I was nearly home. I had just passed the resting place of my family and was tired but my will was growing stronger with each step. At home, I knew, waited a warm meal and the comfort of the company of loved ones but that was ever so far from the forefront of my thoughts. I could hear a train at my back and it only made me smile a little more. As the snow rushed past my face I knew that I had made the right choice.
Once home I couldn’t help but be amused at my foolishness. I stepped gingerly around the house, stopping only to pick up my nephew and cradle him in my arms as we walked around the tiny kitchen and next back into the living room and then finally into a bedroom and then back to the front door, stopping only to view our reflections a pane of glass. He cooed softly and I whispered in return, “I love you, too.”
After a night of sleep I awoke early in the morning. The birds were chirping a tune I had heard since I was a young boy outside of my window. I walked barefoot from my bedroom to the light of the living room. I remembered what it felt to be a boy. How I would wander between the tall trees. I never stayed still and every day meant something new to see, to experience. I stood in front of the large glass door in the living room and wondered where it was I was to go from here.
In the early evening after a few daily chores in this my little home, I began to fill the backpack with things I might need, such as water, rope and other such things before slinging it over my shoulder. I had filled the tires of the bicycle and was ready to make another trip; this time with aim, there had been a little trail I had stumbled upon in the fall that I had meant to follow on this day. And then I was stopped in my tracks. A little voice had asked me when dinner was to be made. I hesitated for a second or two before I responded that it would be made right then and there. Spiritual growth would have to wait, or, it would have to be fulfilled by caring for the ones I love. Either way, that trail would have to wait, for I had dinner to make.
With my little lovelies fed I noted that it was much too late to be out gallivanting. It made me sigh a little but only a little. I had another thought. Jack, the latest addition to our little home, maybe it would be time to test his little legs. In the passing of my former companion, my Bear, I was gifted with Jack; truly I was a little reticent to have another dog so soon, but, I took him on regardless. And his arrival had unexpected repercussions. One of my nieces has become quite taken with Jack, and this does my heart good, it does my heart well to see that love and empathy has found its way into the way of life of a little girl that means the world to me. Being a mix of Labrador and mastiff, Jack has been growing at an alarming rate these past few months and if there’s one thing I know of dogs, it’s that they require much care and attentiveness, so Jack would be joining me.
And with the winter giving way to spring, a new bond would begin. I walk behind with my hands in my pockets as Jack bounds with the exuberance of a pup, which he is, all about. He stops to sniff at everything while I smile and observe his observations. A few young children are playing on either sides of the road as we pass. Another small group has built a fire. The sun has begun to set and we have finally reached the old logging road. I stretch and steady myself and Jack has already leapt ahead. So, it would seem that I have a new companion to run with after all.
The sounds of the bog are perplexing Jack as we make a light pace down the road. Mostly frogs and a few crickets, I deduce. Also, I had worried that hunters had killed the mother deer and her two doe but the feint tracks at my feet tell me that the mother and one doe have made it through the winter. This is the very same road where I had trained Bear and tempered him so I find it quite fitting that now Jack will begin his travels here. The light is dwindling and we are halfway home. I feel oddly calm, although my breaths are still a little more labored than I would like. Jack stops ahead of me at every turn, he turns his attention to me as I gingerly trek along behind him.
The night has brought with it a series of interconnected and strange dreams. I awake in the early morning and a blade of light is cutting through the dark of this room. Fever dreams, I would imagine. They are difficult to recount so I don’t bother. I wipe the sweat off my brow and begin the day. There’s always much to be done and all that’s left is the doing.
Now, the room is dark once more and the night has arrived again. I contemplate the shallowness of the depths of my thoughts. For the moment, everything is life and life is everything. I appear to be free, for the time being, of my depression. I know that it will return in the days to come but for now I focus only on cultivating this calm about me.