While texting is convenient and as much a part of our lives these days as breathing, lately I have found myself “forgetting” my phone at home when I go out.
This wasn’t the case when I was texting my friend Parker the other day. He was bordering on lecturing me via text, at least that is how it appeared to me from my screen. He thought I was roaming about in unsafe zones near my home where unsavory people might venture in the early morning.
I declared this in my text response “I refuse to be afraid. I’ve been afraid for too long when I stopped doing what I love to do most. If I die, I die. Not a big deal. We’ve had the dress rehearsal already. I won’t live by being afraid, I would be dead-while-alive. I won’t have it anymore.”
He thinks I am having some sort of post-near-death experience break down but actually, I am having a post-near-death experience breakthrough, one day at a time.
This morning I was walking alongside the Kern River in the same space where I went when I lost my brother. I went there before to howl with – and befriend coyotes with my friend Coryn. It was the place I found the courage to love the darkness. Today it was barely light as I took photos in newly minted day. No one else was around.
It is much less quiet these days: a new freeway buzzes over it to the east and from the last couple rainy years new, spindly trees have remarkably taken root. I am not sure if there are as many kit foxes and coyotes as there once were.
I didn’t spend much time there this morning, but each moment was precious. The top of my lungs felt tender and achy as they do when I overextend myself. That’s simply a component of healing and one I am more comfortable with – and can’t solve until my next pulmonology appointment.
I laughed to myself because there was no one else there to hear. How marvelous to be this alone in such rich, poignant solitude.
Mary Oliver sprang to mind. She would know this feeling. Her words whisper-shout
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
She has been ever present in my mind as we are coming up on the anniversary of her death. What an honor to hold onto her words.
I looked into the sun, rising up above the trees and imagined wings sprouting from my back.
This is what it feels like to be alive in the early morning.