Helpless Something

old Taos scene

See the Thing?

It ought to be easy to climb out. Everything is in place, even the elm tree trunk that broke off and fell, nearly hitting the house. I’m going to leave it there. The crash was like closing a dead man’s eyes. When we finally have our feet on the ground in a place that feels like home, it’ll all come back, I know it will. The way it felt, pulling into a driveway where I had every right to be, next to flowers and trees that we had planted, and a house that felt like someone, somewhere cared. I know this isn’t complicated. Not letting it happen is.

We were sitting quietly reading, a few feet apart in front of the wood stove. I looked at her and said, quite out of nowhere, “I love you,” and then, “I’ve always been in love with you,” as if I’d just that moment realized. “Why, thank you!” she said, turning toward me with a quiet, happy face. “That’s very nice,” and a moment later, “That’s exactly how I feel, too.” This hit me with some force. In all my years of trying to be worthy, the possibility that I’d already won the lottery of life had apparently never crossed my mind. All night long the thing reverberated. Flashes of grownup joy, boyhood Saturdays that never were. I didn’t want to go to sleep for fear I’d lose it.

Ever since a brake line burst three months ago, I haven’t been able to drive to my favorite hiking spot. Even before then I’d stopped exercising because of an injury, and then the snows began. There was so much mud whenever they melted, hiking was impossible, and in any case I was out of shape from so much downtime. When the mud did dry out a little, I used a GPS app on my iPhone to calculate the distance from my truck to the base of the community water towers across the road. Just curious, you see, but it turned out that three round-trips from the truck to the towers and back equaled half a mile. A dozen laps would take me two miles, half as far as I’d been walking every other day before I hurt myself. The first time I tried, I overdid it, and my right knee swelled up tight and stiff. These days I walk nine laps as fast as I can and everything is fine, except I’m still not back to where I was.

Yesterday was warm enough for me to put on shorts and have another go. I like to walk and ponder. This time, though, I thought about the mountains and the ninety-mile view. The sky, the air. The purity and grace. Yes, even right outside the door. Yet there I was, walking back and forth on a silly little road instead of hiking in wild Nature, ostensibly because I lacked a running truck, and even worse, that I was used to that…

From @AnneLamotte this morning on Twitter, quoting Rilke: “Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” Connect the dots if you’re so moved.

Just observing here. Carry on.

  • kaye March 18, 2017, 1:15 PM

    There’s so many Things in that picture, I don’t know which thing to look for!

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