Tuesday, October 14, 2014

last fall

Pain is a fickle phantom. Our minds are (thankfully) able to forget the feeling itself, and yet traumatic experiences often stay imprinted on us. That's how last fall is for me. I remember each stage of grief I moved through in my clumsy, clomping way. It was the kind of season that, looking back now, I wonder why it had to be that way. Knowing what I know now, being who I am now, I know that it didn't have to hurt that much. It all seems a little silly to me. But what I remember is that tears could start flowing with just a simple question (of a certain subject). I knew a deep well was being tapped in me that I couldn't damn however hard I tried. This might be gross, but it's true: it was like an infection, and the only way to heal it was to let it drain and hope for the best.

But what I really wanted to write about was this: One weekend in what I know now to be toward the end of that painful season, I traveled home to see family. It was the time of year when darkness slowly creeps into our days, staying longer in the early mornings and returning to swallow the day before we were ready for it. The sun tries, but it gets weak. Leaves turn and fall.

My last evening of that visit I had plans to visit a college friend who lives about an hour drive from my sister's house. The journey took me out of the small city where my sister lives and surrounding suburbia, and then onto a single lane road that twisted and rose and fell among trees and alongside old homes with long driveways. The sky was impossibly blue, the leaves bright golds and crimsons. Every minute moving forward there was something new to take my breath away. It was old and familiar to me and yet I hadn't seen that kind of color, been in that kind of woods for the ten years I've lived in Southern California. (I've never visited during that time in the fall.) My deep sadness was still there with me, and yet I knew that it wasn't all there is. Things die and change and the world keeps going.

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