I write this to you today, not knowing if you are the correct recipient, not knowing if writing to an abstract concept makes any difference in the world, but knowing that I am soft and heart full of unsayable things that must be said this morning.
I have stood slack-jawed and dizzy at your presence for as long as I can remember; the smell of a new book, the sound of running water, a two hundred person choir, a real hug, a singular body flowing over the dance floor. I have tried, and then tried and tried again, to help people see it and feel it the way I do, with the force of ice cracking at the first Spring thaw. You are breathtaking, from your smallest speck to your most towering moment.
Mostly, I feel like I fail at sharing this potency in a way that even comes close. And so, sometimes I sit with my back to you for a while, never willing to leave altogether. My relationship to you then gets sloppy and fragmented. I know some people who can hold the constant influx of senses and emotions with more grace than I, and not be washed away by it, not lose their toehold on this planet like a rogue red balloon. I am not there yet. I get so very tired staying open to the heartbreak and elation of your gifts. I feel so very foolish at times in this grand romance, especially when the world around us is flailing in shadows. And it hurts when I am thought of as a child, quirky and amusing as I look at your world with deep delight.
But I remembered something very important this week while on a road trip through Oregon and California. I say ‘remembered’ because it woke up from my body, instead of being told to my brain by others who have experienced it. Like all great truths, it was simple: I am not alone. Our relationship is created by the Earth and supported by the people who see us. With myself, the Earth, and others present, I felt the invitation to step deeper into our love affair, and not pine and sigh on the shallow end.
Driving down Highway 22 in Oregon, there were miles and miles where there were absolutely no other cars on the road. Just my travelling partner and I. We had only known each other for a handful of hours before setting out together, but in the last day and a half I had watched his nimble mind play with ideas, invite randomness, and not shy away from the intensity of passion. When we were offered free apple cider the morning before at the Portland Saturday Farmer’s Market, and it was not a sales gimmick, the force of our collective giddiness almost went supernova in the chilly morning air. It was easy to see that I was in the presence of a similar spirit who had his own sparkling relationship with you.
The landscape was equally in tune with us; the trees looked like someone had taken a cheese grater to red, yellow, and green crayons, and the air was sharp, cold, and sweet. Every so often, brilliant patches of snow punctuated moist, red earth, and the waning afternoon light tilted and painted every surface an impossibility. Even the inside of the car, with our clothes still drying from the hot springs, smelled like animals burrowed in together, ripe and secret.
Once our course of driving was agreed upon, my companion slipped into his daily meditation practice. Our shoulders almost touched in the car, but he was clearly and sweetly with himself. A moment or two later, I started to cry out of nowhere. Softly at first, but stronger as I leaned into the deep safety I felt with my fellow traveller. Wave after wave of emotion came up from what seemed to be the ground I was driving over. They were low and sleek, but tremendously swift and full of awe and gratitude. Once again, I looked you clear in the face, and was humbled as you started showing me new possibilities for our relationship.
I finally had to pull over, running my fingers over my chest to feel for what must be the undulation of my skin. My new friend, to his powerful credit, stayed with himself until his meditation was through, and then laid a simple hand on my shoulder while he listened to me try to put words to the moment. The steadiness and generosity of that hand brought my feet firmly back to the pedals and the road.
I continued to cry, on and off, for the four days together. Even now, a few days later, I feel a thaw that stands out in sharp contrast to the chill of early Fall. In the presence of love, in the presence of Earth, I took in more of you this week than I have in a while. The marquee man, telling us his story, so full of joy. The barefooted electric violin player all in white. Jody, sharing her story and her backyard with us. Strangers bonding over arcade games. A man, who for all his love of logic and fundamentals, gave me fairy glitter mines just to delight my heart. The laughter that bubbled from my belly like it was trying to water the sky. The intimacy of storytelling, both lived and co-created. The surprising elegance of walnut colored feet sticking out from under the covers. The rush of the river. The crunch of gravel and scratch of the pen before my tentmate was awake. John Denver on the radio while we drove straight into a blanket of green trees. Badly tuned, deeply felt, sing-a-longs. Eating the world’s most delicious chicken with our fingers in the parking lot of a Safeway. The cycles of quiet and convergence that lead from strangers to friends.
Maybe I don’t need to tell you all this, dear Beauty. You were there. In fact, you are always there when I encounter things I don’t understand, but need as much as I need air and water to stay alive. You always pull me back in with a wink and a smile before I get too serious about leaving. I continue to change, but the invitation to fall in love with everything, does not.
I want you to know I was listening.
Your Girl Unendingly,