To survive is to fight, to split open, to cry, to persevere into the next season of a dream’s life, to detach from the root, the branch, before hope dies, to fall or fly not knowing the outcome until free, that air before the landing or opening of wings…
When my son last visited, he played this song a lot on our Bluetooth speaker while he and his girlfriend and my daughter stayed up all hours playing board games (while I tried to sleep in the master suite of the ranch on the other side of the door). It’s a song he really feels, like the movie. At the first notes, when it comes on the radio now when he is not present, I immediately change it. To “control” my sadness. I try to avoid thinking about him and his sadness and his addiction, him as Bradley Cooper in the movie. It just hurts too much.
It was the mention of the movie and allusion to the song in passing on social media that stemmed this writing spree in me though. I connected with a fellow English teacher-poet on Instagram where I usually just post and go without actually socializing. I am one to put a song on repeat for hours, for days, to feel, to lose myself in the zone, to somewhere it seems I am being led, but only hitting repeat on max volume on my earbuds and a lot of patience simply lingering at the portal is necessary. To let myself feel without thinking for once. For a long while…
I listened to the soundtrack while sweating through yard work. Then I watched the video… and cried. What a sad movie. One of his favorites, of course. I could never remove the movie from myself now. I didn’t know that that Instagram post I “ran across” by someone I did not yet “follow” would lead me here, to pouring out prose, whether or not I post it or lock it up. I knew it was going to mean something though. I believe strongly in paths crossing for reasons.
I need this. To let my fingers fly free across the keyboard in prose again. To feel the release that comes from that and also through music.
I connect the most in songs to the non-words, the soul eruptions that exceed alpha-translation. That is what pain and love is, after all. And the fall. For me, it is the rise of the wailing “uhs” and “ohs,” and in voices like Lady Gaga’s and Calum Scott’s (“Dancing On My Own”).
In “Shallow,” that point is the moment of free fall. And free fall… could end or not end in a limited number of ways, albeit in limitless places, could be initiated or not initiated for so many reasons, could be the beginning or the end. For me, regarding all of this, it is that push to the edge at the end of my marriage, when I could no longer breathe, and my panic-attacked heart raced as if it were going to give out once and for all. The 2:42 point of no return is when I leapt, screaming on the way down that I have had all I could take, not being able to see the bottom, leaping entirely with the final no-turning-back point of faith, faith I would crash through the mirage of the surface into the “anything more than this.”
I am happy to report, it was the best jump I ever made. The one that saved me. I didn’t want to have wings. I just wanted to crash through it to the other side. Full speed. Once and for all.
I am also keenly aware that others feel that same desperateness and take the leap to leave this life altogether. The song’s narrator makes it clear she will never meet the ground though. I feel a need and calling to string nets for every jumper off course. So they are forced back up and can only pass through the same portal as me and her, only with faith and courage. In the more that is here in this life.
May angels escort each at the edge. To safety. To life.
Barefoot atop the deep waters, white dress and wild tresses flowing, sunken-ship cemetery of the past beneath, I twirl in this present moment.
The sea is mine as my dance floor, and I skim across to my pick of shores; I explore, I vacation, not searching, just jubilation of losing worries and fears, exaltation of the lightness of the lifting of those stormy years, each moment an eternity to get to the next, each stepping stone sinking with each vine grasped, no beanstalk discovered to bring me to the clouds, only faith each day for decades of a better tomorrow.
That tomorrow is today,
hence the head-raised dance in the sun and in the rain, embracing with wide-opened arms the achievement of having started upon this horizon I only viewed from the beach.
The stepping stones still sink. I just realized the only missing factor was to fully
They were never needed. Self-love was the only key.
I was always worth it. Eventually, I fought for me and this dream.
Winter in the South means a mix of seasons but the absence of snow. My soul needs the snow though. Still, I find much beauty in the messages and stories that appear in my lens. There is always a story in my lens.
I have been admiring the stubbornness of Autumn. Colors still ablaze that arrived in standardized winter months hold fast, refuse to let go. Soon it will be spring here. How long can Autumn hold on? Will she co-exist with Spring next? As much as I admire her, part of me wants to console her, let her know that it will be okay to relax her grip, to let change occur. I have known such resistance, such unsettling feelings, such pre-nostalgia, such fear.
I am not a fan of change, which surprises even me given my fiery resistance to conformity. Part of me admires the fiery leaf refusing to be classified into a season, to be confined to certain months. Part of me sees a sadness though too, especially paired with the fiery setting sun, similarly seeming to stall in its descent, wanting to stay just a bit longer.
Autumn clings defiant or weeping; its leaves like the setting sun seem to desperately hold on.