2021w20

This week comes the heat. Today, we’ll press up against 90 degrees.

Last night, my arms and legs were covered in sand and sweat and so many gnats. I thought a fire would have scared them away, but instead it just lit me up like a landing strip, saying “Free meal here.”

A year ago, today, I said I felt like I was suspended mid-air in a motorcycle jump away from the stable and stagnant and into a weird and wild unknown.

Well, I survived the leap. I did not fall down into the ravine, I did not crash and burn.

But a whole year later, I’m feeling like I’m racing through inter-dimensional portals. One moment, a lush rainforest, filled with greenery and wild and all sorts of birds flying in every direction, air thick and heavy, dew dripping from every smooth surface.

Then flash, I’m on a salt flat, nothing around for thousands of miles.

Flash again, I’m in some suburban hellscape filled with nothing but cul-de-sacks and minivans and all you can eat “pizza” buffets for $3.99.

Flash again and I’m 2000 feet beneath a glacier, ice pick in hand, carving out a narrow tube just wide enough to wiggle through, freezing cold but somehow not losing any heat, just chipping, one small shattered glass fractal at a time.

And then I’m on some wild contraption, some vaguely apocalyptic vehicle cruising through mud, oh so much mud. Just free-flowing and ever-present tectonic milkshakes, staining and swallowing everything.

Then I’m on a ladder, five miles high, scraping sky, while some pelicans pass by and squawk “It’s time, Let go.”

And I look down and there is a net, beneath another net, beneath another net, beneath another net, and I’m tempted. Even if one doesn’t hold, the next one will get me. And if not that one, then the next one, and if not that one, the next one.

Nobody deserves this many safety nets. And yet, there are my hands, gripped on cool steel, white knuckling, trying desperately to reach for yet another rung. Nothings there, but do I keep climbing? Try to Wile E. Coyote my way up?

Of course not. But… muscle memory.

The heart is a muscle, too.

How could I forget?

Every day I ask myself that question.

To properly form new memories, there are some things you need to let fade away. Or at least, forget to remember for a while.

Otherwise everything gets tangled in vines.Or salted in brine. Or trapped under ice. Or stuck in the mud.

Like a river, all of this runs through me.

I try to build myself a raft, while wading waste deep. It isn’t easy. It isn’t super effective. But what alternatives are there?

Step out and find shore? What if there isn’t any? What if it’s just cliff upon cliff upon cliff reaching all the way to the heavens? What then?

So instead, I just watch out for falling trees, snap off some branches where I can, and whittle away while the waters wash over me.

Rivers upon rivers upon oceans of nonsense. Images absent of connection. Ten thousand hot air balloons inside of a bubble of sulferous gas, sixteen thousand leagues under the sea.

I need a plumber to come drain my subconscious. Snake out the soap scum and the clumps of hair and the caked together toothpaste, and the long forgotten comb that just went “plop” down the pipe.

Let all of this flicker right by me as I fall. Down through a net, then another, then another, until I’m moving so slowly that even though the last one still does not hold, I land with a gentle thud and nothing more than some dusty scrapes, no broken bones.

This is home. This is what I know.

For me, this is what it looks like to let go.