Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As My Feet Move...

Written September 25


As my feet move, I am discernible. As my feet move, I shake my head. I'd forgotten what it felt to be barefoot. I'd forgotten how to move.
"Where ya going?" asks neighbor sir with the gardening hat and wheelbarrow in tow.
"To the lake," I reply, a bit taken aback by his forward, defenseless bonhomie. I've been a resident of the south for twelve years now, and it still surprises me when people tip their hats and say 'hello.'
"I thought you was going to town," he chuckles.
Town? What town? We live in a subdivision off Highway 302 and I am barefoot with my jeans rolled up, carrying a journal and a book on Confession. Town?
It's a nice thought. Oddly enough, the last real "town" I had been in was Lambertville, New Jersey, where everyone knew everyone by name and shouted their conversations across the street, which was about six feet wide or less. 
Memphis was a place of hostility for me, void of the picture book Southern gentility I had come to expect from shows like Paula Deen's Home Cooking. Looking back on it now, I suppose it was my own family's problems, their and my inability to be satisfied with the now, that made life so exhausting. 
I used to blame my problems on a self-diagnosed case of Seasonal Affect Disorder, but as I lay here in the ripe green grass under the shade of trees budding with acorns and a sky like the Caribbean sea, I know it's not that. It's me. It's my head. I see things, all possible outcomes, the good, the horrible, the imagined and the impossible. They come and go too fast for me to even get them down on paper.
Even as I close my eyes and feel the breath of God on my cheek, I want to yell: at myself, for not being better. At my parents for not pushing me harder. At God, for not giving me a clearer reason to live. 
There are lilac bushes planted on the base of my friend the tree, and they take me back to my first home, on the outskirts of Boston, where lilacs and morning glories bloomed along our fence, and buttercups roamed like fairies. I miss those days. I had my imagination back them. 


I see four kids, I'd guess ten, playing in the basin by the lake. I wonder if they've been taught to worry yet, or if their parents guarded them against fruitless thought. Do they have a self conscious? If they are just "being kids" what will happen when the time comes to apply to colleges and they have nothing to write on a piece of paper that, whether they like it or not, will make an irreparable impact on their life? Do they know fear?

I'd forgotten what the feel of grass was against my skin. I'd forgotten how the sky looked from down here--vast and blue, like a soft blanket.  The sky is always here. Can I spend all my time with the sky and the trees and the grass? I bet they get a lot of wayward wanderers appealing to them for help, or at the very least, comfort. I wish so badly that I lived in a time where people still made "house calls" and borrowed cups of sugar.  Now the only thing that sees me more than my own mirror is my car on the way to SuperTarget.

I live a pitiful existence. And yet the grace and the ants disagree. The ants, perfectly content spending the days climbing up and down blades of grass, seem to really get it.  Or maybe there's just not even that much to get. Maybe there just is. Just blades of grass and acorn trees and blanket sky and clouds. Isn't that nice?

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