Saturday morning I woke up to fog and made pancakes while sending my new love interest an unintentionally mixed message over email. I ate the pancakes, considered whether this could be fixed with another message or only made worse. I sided with worse then lay on the couch for a moment of just being cozy which turned into a rather long moment of imagining what it might be like if he was there.
Eventually, I put on warm clothes and hopped on my bike for Bald Hill. There was nothing left of the fog but along the bike path a red-tailed hawk swooped off a power line into the grass. A downy woodpecker hopped around the backside of a tree by the trail.
As I parked my bike three ravens soared in an arc over the oaks and disappeared into the woods scolding each other.
The mud was thick on the side trail. The sparrows and towhees, surprised by my steps, darted from each side of the trail into the brush. Suddenly I remembered a dream I had with birds in it. He and I lay together—as if it was settled—and the haunting calls of Varied Thrushes sounded all around us as the room shrank, leaving just enough space for two bodies and the rest was wilderness.
I wanted today’s hike to be an epic adventure but it was hard to be present—planning the escape from office work, wishing I could share the walk with him, the sunlight, the temperature of my hands. Occasionally I remembered to admire the undulating trunks of the oaks shimmering in their green moss; steam rising off their limbs into the sun. Occasionally I heard the sound of the rocks under my feet and enjoyed the feeling of finally being in my element outdoors.
This ordinariness made me miss the poignancy of hermit life. Back then I projected my desire for intimacy so deeply into everything that everything seemed silver and vying for my love. Each molecule, each thicket of wood and green leaf entwined in my strange union. It gave me so much more to write about besides:
Three ravens arc over the oaks.
The moss steams under the sun.
My boots beat on the rocks
while I think of someone who isn’t here.
I can’t go back. It’s nice to have friends, to feel my worth sometimes, to have moments considering a real person who may actually lay with me on the couch someday.
But this place l became so intimate with—where creativity and love of nature become a road into the soul, where psychology is a mystical branch of Science, where spirituality is a personal act no one needs to see but ourselves—it is so compelling. How does one write about it without a grand suffering holding it together? What is the name for this place? Is it so simply just the human heart perched in the mossy woods of the soul like a still crow that it alludes the intellect who searches for an easily googled term to wedge into a 30 second elevator speech?
I stop and draw a tree. It is not any great study. I’m hungry, the high sun has washed out all subtlety and my attention span has left with the sparrows. Sometimes it’s enough to do one tiny thing.
Back on the bike path the horses linger along the fence wearing blankets that make them look like monks. A harrier flies over and lands in the middle of the field where there may have been a mouse.