The Trees Are Still Teaching Me Things

Almost a year ago, a hurricane swept by
that was really just a show of wind and rain
In the following days, the city went by cutting
branches off of trees and the cuts were fresh
and blunt
It smelled like lumber for days
And in the time since, the cuts have healed
The trees grow themselves over it
absorb it
accept it
as their own
And it takes nothing away from their
ability to withstand future storms
And it takes nothing away from their
growth and strength
And it shows me that it’s possible
to accept what you don’t like about
yourself with patience and
grace

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Summer Storms

For weeks, I kept missing the rain
For weeks, I walked around with
sullied hands that touched nothing
that wasn’t me for fear of spreading
that dirtiness around
What coated my hands wasn’t the soil
that filled the cracks in my heart
it didn’t sustain
it didn’t thrive
It plagued
Until I finally got caught in a
late-summer storm and I watched
as everything that haunted me
glided down my fingers with
ease and grace
A release as soothing
as powerful
as temporary
as the storms themselves

A friend once told me that who you are
begins when you ask yourself who you want to be
but all I have is a crumpled list of every attempted
answer to that question
student
daughter
educator
serves
sister
friend
Roles that were handed to me or
that I sought on my own
that had an expiration date or
that continue to shift as I ask myself
the question that places me in front
of the void that has found a home
in my heart
“Who do I want to be?”

I stare into that abyss but I don’t have
the roses to throw into it
I only have myself
a sacrifice that isn’t holy
or sacred or clean
but just enough to silence it
just enough to get through the day
the month
the year
A yawning sprawling emptiness
that feels like everything
and nothing
and demands nothing less
than its host
Sometimes, I feel weak enough
to acquiesce
“Who do I want to be?”
I simply don’t know

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When you realize that you nourish the idea of permanence, you begin to wonder where such a notion comes from. At least, I do. Because everything changes from moment to moment, and even the grand cosmic things that outlast you by billions of years end. So, why do our circumstances, our victories and failures, the joy and the sadness, more often than not, catch us by surprise, when the entirety of human existence, in all of its glory and horror, is just a blip in the history of the world?

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Ultimately and simply put, I have to believe that the weight of life isn’t a burden or a hindrance. I have to believe that the stories of love and loss that are woven into my muscles won’t atrophy them; that my dances with courage and fear haven’t scuffed my heart; that the number of times I’ve resisted or accepted change won’t make my bones brittle. I have to believe that it’s a practice in learning how to revive what I’ve let die. Summer left in a blaze of pastels, and in the wake of autumn, I have to learn how to live for myself again.

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It’s odd and terrifying to juggle so many unfinished things at once. I’ve been lost and unlost and lost again, and in the middle of all of this, I’ve realized how easy it is to take clearly defined things for granted. Sometimes, the peace of mind that’s tied with that knowledge comes easy, and other times, you have to work for it. It’s a terrifying and deeply uncomfortable task, but it’snot impossible.
Because to reside in that place–the one that tightens your chest and make you wish that things could just hurry up and be okay–comes with a long term sense of betterment.
That’s what I choose to believe.

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Out of nothing came everything
a series of elements
over millions of years
combined to become you
the most well thought out
unintentional creation of nature
part water
part stardust
all frighteningly
and gloriously
human
Nothing ever exists by accident