And I am here in this place between waking and sleep, and all I can think of is my future, the future as round as a new mother, as worn as lace, and holding me fast to its murmurings. Am I to write? For whom? It is always for me, in the end.
In this place of unexpected beginnings and inexplicable sorrows, insurmountable joys, I am whole and halved. I yearn for the next ending, though endings are always beginnings. I want to finish things I have begun, though I know this drive towards completion, beginning, completion, beginning, will always leave me bereft of satisfaction. I (desire) – see there is only a turning, turning, turning. I (desire) – know that none may ever be satiated. Where do we go from here?
I think of the times I’ve created something and completed something, and I yearn for that satisfaction of DONE. Whether it’s a pregnancy or a manuscript. I am in the half-light, for now. I know that these things will happen in my life and they will be unlike what I’ve expected them to be. It’s always that way. I will shave myself of my expectations, as I see that is the only way forward – through the darkness. No light can illuminate the future that is mine, I’ve learnt, at least no light I can cast now. The light comes from beyond, comes from the boomerang arc of my dreams sent out in the sky, completing themselves in my hands.
I wake sometimes, even in the day from strange dreams, and it dawns on me, “oh yes. That’s right. I’m in this body. And this life. And this time. Oh yes. That’s what I’m doing. I’m doing this,” as if returning to my body after being completely elsewhere, perhaps everywhere. Then there are the dreams where I’m walking in heels that are too high, too small, or too broken. In these dreams I can’t walk properly and I’m always being watched. At first I wondered what this dream meant; I’d had it four times. Then I realized that of course, in every sequence I’m having trouble moving forward in shoes that don’t fit me. There’s also the fact that most of the time, all eyes are on me.
Expectations. Others’ and our own. We are but human, and perhaps the dim light cast by our expectations shines some path ahead for us, perhaps only a few steps, in reality. There is longing and waiting and hoping, surely, in all living creatures. I saw a large bird propped up on long legs in the water today, waiting for something, perhaps a small turtle, perhaps a fish. This was the first time that it didn’t fly away as I approached. We were maybe 8 feet from each other, and the bird watched me, still and resolute as the clock in Grand Central. Does it not have expectations? Does it not have hope?
I tell myself, ‘One day, you’ll have everything in order,’ knowing how strange that sounds. ‘One day, you’ll have completed everything you wanted to,’ – though I can only imagine that would be at the time of death? (one hopes!) What comes next, great being of Life? In so many ways I am quite content watching the sun come up and over our house on the river, performing my meditative morning routines before breakfast, making bread and love, fending off ants. But there must be more than this. No, I don’t necessarily want to hike the PCT trail as Cheryl Strayed did, and no, I don’t necessarily want to give up money. There is something, a little something that I’m looking for, and yes, I do consider myself a spiritual (or might I say cosmic) person tapped into the great cosmos of dark and light.
Is this something the ominous ‘that which can never be attained’? I’ve heard it said before, that we go through life thinking: ‘College. I’ll just get a degree and graduate and then I’ll be happy. Marriage! I’ll meet the man of my dreams and we’ll be married and then I’ll be happy…. Kids! We’ll have beautiful babies and life will be complete. Then I’ll be happy. A different job. That’s what I need. A change of pace. A change of scenery. We’ll move cities. Get a new couch. That will make me happy. Retirement! Oh that’s definitely the answer. I’ll retire and never have to work again, that will be bliss. Hold on, where did life go and why am I not yet happy?’
It seems we’re not happy for some inner reason: perhaps that we just can’t seem to find ourselves. Tricky task that, in this dimension, when everything is changing at deceptive and varied speeds, when cycles of birth, decay and death repeat themselves over and over. How do we find this thing called ourself when everything outside is fluxing and fluctuating? This very essay is a meditation on life itself. I know there is an unchanging thing within that is the core of me. I can’t always know it, though. I can’t always touch it. Where did I bury it, again? Did I leave a treasure map somewhere? I wish someone could tell me, but only I have the key and I’ve forgotten again where I put it tonight.
It seems I find myself anew every day, every week, and through every hour that I change, I find myself. I discovered today that something within me wants to purchase a bow and arrow set and practice shooting at trees. It wants to ride horses again and again, learn their ways and spend time with their souls. It does want to buy a new couch, and move cities sometimes.
But then I see the light out the window as it hits the small flowers, bending low through the trunks of trees towards the wide meadow. Then I take a deep sigh and remember that I am of this earth and this earth is of me, and that to spend time in nature and with those that I love, connecting, is all that matters to me, really. I’m giving myself away, but that is what I do. I give it away. All I want is honesty, and authenticity, and a shot at understanding myself and this life. This fragmented window in time which cannot see all, but sees much.
I am what I am, and have no idea what comes next. In this story, my life, the next page is unwritten.