Destination to nowhere, traversing on foot, no longer running away, just enjoying the non-route and what blooms from roots wildly seeded and the textures of the season and infinite skies ever shape-shifting like my thoughts and the way I get lost far away in them. Dusk hushes. Frogs belt out. Alert for bears and human predators, I turn toward home and the portal of color gradually closes. My feet return to pavement, having being lowered back to reality which, these days, is equally rewarding. Outside in the mornings and in the evenings, essential to my emotional well-being. I can’t imagine not being gifted this amazing, tranquil creation. Thank you, Lord, for the free and natural cure-all medication. In my backyard, beneath the stars, I continue my wandering contemplations…
Rain and storms, natural parts of the cycle; why do I let them sometimes level me? Perhaps it’s the blindsiding. What if I had a service to alert when my past in shallow puddles lurks? Tentacles too quickly encircle around my ankle– down the rabbit hole again. Yet even then, I know from experience, the falls are physically harmless. What’s another puncture in a wound unable to be seen? Though no bodily pain I’ve ever known makes me so heavily internally bleed out. Hemorrhaging soul. Still, it is inevitable: the weather changes back again every time. What’s left behind? A piece I bury, not of me, but a part of the repetition of unhealthy; one less tentacle grows back, unable to regenerate. One by one, I slay them, and the only way to pass through the portal is through those puddles, so I brace for the rain.
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.