It is finally here. It has finally come! The weather is changing, the air is alive and there are peaceful sounds afloat. The spring environment has finally triumphed over the coldness of the harsh, snowy winter. It has cut in and put all the chills to rest. I’m am truly excited. Granted, there is still so much to miss about the winter, despite the bitterness of its winds. The winter brings with it a clean-like environment. The heavy snow coats the world and makes it feel as though everything has been cleansed; it feels so pure. The cold weather makes it far more acceptable to stay at home, curled up with the largest tea or coffee or hot chocolate you have ever seen. The social dynamics of winter are so vastly different from those of the spring. When the weather turns warm, it is expected that you go outside, explore and socialize. In the winter you can be like a hermit. No conversations are needed, no communication is sought. It is nearly a social taboo to bother a person that is inside in the winter, or even outside the home, to be perfectly honest. The winter is the time of the introverts, for a lack of a better term. But now we bide fair well to the warmth of our homes and greet the warmth of the outside world. The winter fades after the fight and now we feel the breeze hug rather than cut. The birds call from above and the squirrels chatter below. Though we are now expected to be among the living, it is easier to want it as the weather greets are every action.
This room is suffocating. We are cramped, pushed together and unable to move from the small, gray desks we have been provided. Some seats sit empty, most are occupied by someone far too big for their confides; it feels as though the assigned seats from elementary school have followed our forms to this stale white room that rises above a lower floor. The windows let in little direct light through their mostly shut blinds, the ones that come standard in most apartments. Most of the bright, steal lighting comes from the humming lights above; it is far too white to feel comfortable and greeting. Through the room echoes the sound of shuffling from below and the flushing of toilets in the room directly next to. The echos also share the sound of sniffling, key pads and the scratching of writing utensils on paper. The floors are cold, and crudely placed so that any of the green-gray texture that stripes them do not match; they turn in whatever direction they see fit. There’s also an out of place tile near the front of the room. From the door, one passes four rows of desks before meeting an open space that it occupied by two objects. A long table topped in fake wood and a desk that looks like it belongs in a business office. This room is suffocating.
It has been four days since we arrived in these parts. Every day has been a new adventure, and, I will personally tell you, each of those excursions have been well worth my time. I love it out here. I adore it, and I can say with full certainty that I will return, I will come back to these grounds so far from my home; it feels almost like it is just yet another home for me at this point. But four days is a long time. I am truly enjoying my time, but, gods, I am exhausted.
Each adventure has been yet another toll on my form. Day one was just getting use to the whole world of bikes again. Not to mention the heat of the desert and the length of the ride itself. The second was coming in hard contact with a solid rock surface. That world was like nothing I had seen before; there was no soil or dirt to speak of. Just huge rocks that looked like rolling hills; they were all sandstone and gave an amazing view of the alien-like world. The third day was a rough tumble down a rocky slope. A cut and a hundred some-odd bruises later I was still having a blast but so entirely sore.
Now to today, the forth day of this most interesting adventure. I am still sore, I am still tired, but I am ready for anything and everything. I am excited for this new adventure. I just wish it wasn’t the last day of such fun.
I have been living in the mountains for far too long. The trees beckon me when I am in view, the soft wind hugs my shoulders and the snow flutters by with play in mind. The land knows me, and I know it, and it seems all to tempting to stay. No one wants to leave the comfort of their home, after all. But here I stand and I know that I have been here far too long. I should know. I haven’t lived outside of nature in nearly twenty years, and have not even retreated to society for supplies in nearly two of those. I have trapped myself here, and though I do not hate myself for it, I know that it has been twenty years too long.
I should pack my bags. Or, whatever it is you would call what I have. A sack? A bundle? Whatever it is, I should pack it. I should gather my few possessions and close up what I might call a home. I should wander down the slopes, into the hills and down to the towns where everything is so alive. I should be where the people are.
I am thinking about this so entirely. Why do I want to return? What sparked this idea? Why do I think that the people want me? Those people who rejected me so entirely all those years ago? Why am I thinking about it? I should stay in these mountains. This is where I am safe. This is where I truly belong.
But, again, to live like a humans. To not live off of what I catch. To be average and see others and be involved and work. Everything so interesting in the towns. If I go there, I can be less alone. I can be someone new. It has, after all, been twenty years. Things have changed.
What will I choose? Where will I be?
Is he ready? Probably not. Okay, definitely not. He is not prepared, he is not ready, but he was geared to go and there was no turning back. He is going to do it no matter if he can or cannot. But isn’t that kind of the fun? Going out, exploring, delving into worlds you never thought could exist in our own plane, our own country for that matter. He is so extremely ready to go that all the insecurities, all the risks, seem so small and unimportant. So much so that whatever the strange world he has entered will throw at him, he will welcome the strange sensations with open arms. He will be prepared for everything he is not prepared for, in some sense at least. He doesn’t know what to expect. That’s probably why he has two bottles of water strapped to the back of his bike. That’s probably way he has extra water in his pack, rations of beef sticks and granola bars, and an extra coat that just happens to be water proof. He’s lack of understanding of this environment leaves him nothing to be prepared for, but he his ready for anything. Hell or high water, he has something for each. So, is he ready? Definitely not. He is not ready for this environment. He is not ready for the strange experiences, but he is ready for the worst, and he is ready to adventure forth and see a world like none he has seen before.
Rocks. Literally rocks everywhere. Left, rocks. Right, rocks, straight ahead, rocks. Behind, rocks. I am trapped in a world of stone and sand and rocks and pebbles. And it goes on like this for miles and miles and miles and miles… I think you get the point. It is absolutely rocky; in the sense of the physical surroundings as well as my mental state of mind. I thought I was supposed to be in a desert. I thought this concept was that there would be sand for miles around. Some course, some soft as a rabbit. I thought I would be trudging through, attempting to keep my footing and trying my hardest not to start sinking in. That’s what everyone tells you anyways; your friends, or family and, of course, Hollywood. Deserts are just sand and more sand. Nope. They were wrong. Look at them all being wrong.
Sure, there is some sand here and there, and, technically, all of these rocks are, mostly, made of sandstone and will eventually erode down to sand, but the solid surfaces greatly out number the soft fluff of sand that is dotting the landscape here and there.
But again, I’m off track. I can’t be talking about this strange world for the sand. I’m focused on the rocks. They are still everywhere, all around, and I am totally lost. I can’t remember if I came from the east, west, south or north. I can’t remember which rocky structure I have passed, and which ones that I haven’t. In this weird, alien world, direction seemingly alludes me and everything looks the same, no matter how different things really are. My hands tighten into fists and I fall to my knees. Where am I? Why are there so many rocks? Why didn’t I bring something to navigate? This rocky desert is nothing that I had ever expected.
I am an explorer. I am an artist and a designer. I am a woman of many talents. I bare in mind that my greatness is not something so grand, yet I stand in strength that it will get me by. I know not to underestimate my normality. But, despite how ordinary I may be, I stand upon this ridge and gaze out upon something much more extraordinary. This coursing river will always be more powerful, more intense, more forceful than I. It has raged forth for so long and will little interest in slowing down; it is the king of this strange land. The rocks even bow to it, like loyal subjects that want nothing more than to please their mighty ruler – the ruler that cuts them down and puts them in their place, if they should get out of line. I wish, in some amount I could be like this river. So strong and controlling; be something that would get my way if I must while also giving to the world around me. So many things rely on this river despite its strength and disinterest in yielding to the stones. It is a kind force, something so little in this world understand. I wish to be like this. A power, so mighty, that is needed and desired, but so stern and respected. To be something would be simply amazing in my eyes.
I bow my head to the river. I do not require this river. I do not need this river like the fish and the birds and the trees. I do not have to retreat like the rock faces and landscapes made of sand and pebbles. I am not indebted, but I bow, nevertheless. I respect the authority of this body of water and wonder so deeply how it came to such power all those years ago. I am high upon these rocks and wonder if I gave up all my titles, the explorer, the artist, the designer, would I be like this river?
If I fall I am dead. If I fall, I drop nearly 1000 feet and will certainly break my neck, my legs, and definitely my arms. I would be done for. So I tighten my grip on the handle bars and hold a deep breath in in attempts to maybe stabilize me upon the high rocks. I move forward inch by inch and try my hardest not to look down. But it was so beautiful, so breath taking, it was so hard to avoid. I look again and feel the breath I held so tightly onto slip away with the light breeze that was keeping me from over heating. The fall was terrifying, to say the least, but the view was worth the jump it put in my heart.
You’d think you would see wildlife here, but that is something that this rocky landscape lacks. There may be a bird above or a lizard about the ground, but almost never in view. They hide in the heat and hunt by the rivers and spaces that are more forgiving, more shaded, and more wet and thriving. Out here, there is nothing but drops, rocks, and sand for miles and miles and miles around.
I suck in my breath again. That gust just now was a little too strong and it reoriented me. I remembered that I was teetering on the edge of death, looking at the trail that took me up the side of a sandstone that curved at a sixty degree angle. Somehow I had make it up that while also trying not to dive off the side of what seemed the world.
Again, I gather air and forgot about the deathly fall to my side. I must go on, I must not seek the edge.
He lives in this shack. He lives in this unsealed box, among the rotting logs and dying grass. He lives in this lumber stand, that bares no warmth or interest in his welling being. However, this does not deter the man that lives within the four panels. He is happier than can be. He is content within the hobble. For this is what he knows, this is what he loves, this is what has been his only support since his beginnings – that faithful day he stumbled into the world so unprepared.
One may look and see green planks of particle board, tossed together as a makeshift stand that may have been used once or twice before being forgotten and disregarded. The thought might be of shrugging and baring disinterest. Some may look inside, only out of interest of what it might hold, and be sorely disappointed to find a few empty cans, a plastic bag and a half empty jar of peanut butter. There is no treasure for them there. But the man that lives there see otherwise.
The four panels bare the mark of safety. They relieve him of the harsh winds and heavy snowfalls of the winter. They protect him from the dominate sun and cooling rains of the summer. They keep out the things he fears most. The inside is like a heaven. He keep there his few possessions. Three cans, now empty, from the first time he sheltered a friend. They shared many memories today, including the sweet taste of preserved soda. A plastic bag. The bag he found while collecting cans, a bag that he now uses to carry objects from one place to another. His only storage aside from his last pocket that was about to go. And the jar of peanut butter. A prize to himself when the hunger begins to sink in and he has found himself doing particularly well.
The value of things is a tricky concept, but the ideology stands so strongly. What may be a trash to one, my very well be the very thing keeping another fighting through their days.
This is what love is. This is what working together for love is. It’s not that gutsy look caught from the corner of your eye, or the soft touch in places you didn’t expect. Love is a state of being where there is nothing to be held back. Love is the notion that you are together with that person or those people, no matter the reason. Love is love. An action of putting your faith in another. The action of respecting and supporting. Love isn’t just physical contract to be made with just one. It is safety and warmth, and doesn’t have to be what all think so typically when they hear the four letter word.
The people before us know of love, they know of what it means to love another, respect another. Together they love all those that are punished from their tastes. Together they love all that are pushed out like outcasts. Some even stand who are also of those that are mistreated by the most unforgiving world. They know the fear, but yet they love on.
But what is love? The term pushes toward something romantic. Something sexual. But why does that stand as the given case? Love should not be controlled by the simple structure of this society. Love is more enduring and more forgiving then that. All of our friends before us, all of those small, colorful lights, have already notated this. They are fighting back, pushing back against the ideals that have stood for centuries. They wish to see progression, and they choose to show this through love. For their mother, their aunt, their brother, their best friend, for their classmates, for their co-workers, for the people they will never meet. They love, so that those people my also love. Together, love is something more fulfilling than just the four letters that take to form it.