30 December 2012

Monuments Beneath the Arbor

 The first time they tell you that the world's turning you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. And the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour and I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go...

If you haven't gathered by now, I'm rather fond of the Decemberists. Of course, by "rather fond" I actually mean ready and willing to bellow rough approximations of their wondrous melodies whenever and where ever possible. Shower, bus stop, trails, it makes no matter. There is always a Decemberists' song to fit the occasion. While I am especially fond of their album The Hazards of Love, their most recent album is mayhaps my second favorite. Or maybe it's actually Picaresque. Or what about The Crane Wife? Not being able to decide on my favorite album by one of my favorite groups is such a first world problem.

But anyways. The King is Dead. It came out in 2011, and while I've been listening to it year-round for almost two years now, I still somehow associate it with the change of summer to autumn. This is mostly the fault of "Don't Carry it All." You can go listen to it here while you finish reading. This song sounds golden and orange and brilliant blue and brown all at once. It hints at the death of a moment, the rebirth of something new, and our endless track around the sun.

Here we come to a turning of the seasons,
Witness to the arc toward the sun...

I have three days left in my corner of the world. Three days to go walking in the rain, to shiver when the lurking chill catches up to me, three days to soak in as much of my old life as I can. I say "old life" because, as I've mentioned before, January 1st, 2013, marks a monumental shift in the direction of my life. I have no idea what may await me. I don't know if I'll like what I find. And I know, for certain, without a hint of doubt, that I will miss you all.

We are all travelers, if not through space then at least through time. Right now, I am living in a state of apprehension. Everyone's path is different, and I don't want our paths to diverge, never to meet again. I'm apprehensive that my new traveling companions will not replace what I'm losing for six months. I'm apprehensive that my new traveling companions will replace what I'm losing. I don't like change - what was I thinking to get myself into this?

If I'm really honest with myself, though, I have been operating under a delusion. There is no "status quo." There is no comfortable state of being that will continue in stasis while I am away. There is no true "here" to return to. The past few months, I've been pulling the wool over my own eyes, avoiding bringing my friendships to cross-roads where changes could occur. And yet, last night (at what was essentially my  last public encounter) I realized that such tipping points have happened without my knowledge.

We all travel through time, and there is no stopping the clock. Much as I would like to freeze moments in time - walking through the waning summer day with friends, caroling in a sketchy area of town, sitting around a campfire listening to my beloved friends havering - those moments will never happen again except in my memory. And combined with those moments of warmth are the regrets. Things I've said or haven't, people I should have reached out to, opportunities that should have been seized. Memory is imperfect, memory is joyous and painful and bittersweet and it frightens me that, come July, I will have memories which you are not in.

We're falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go...

For [s]he did not know that beyond the lake [s]he called home lies a deeper darker ocean green, where waves are both wilder and more serene. 

 I'm facing an ocean whose far shore I cannot see. A great unknown, but unlike others that I've faced before, I have no companions to face the dark at my side.  Behind me are the lights and fires and warmth and comfort of home, familiarity and family and friends all keeping each other company on this cold night in the lonesome December.

You could say I've gotten my wish. I am climbing, higher, higher than I've ever dared before. And I cannot look down, I cannot look back. If stop now, I may never have the courage to continue. This is a one way rollercoaster that only goes up - but only so long as I don't look down.

Oh, my friends, I will miss you so! I will miss you like skin misses the warmth of sunshine. I have been so blessed to sojourn with you, and my biggest regret is that we have not the time. I am a creature made for eternity, and this accursed temporal nature is foreign, uncomfortable.

Winter is coming. The cold has well and truly caught me. I can feel it in my bones, in my core, in my soul. It is invigorating, lively, killing my apathy and forcing me higher. But the cold also chases away warmth. And I'm caught between the two, loving and despising them at the same time. If I remain in the warmth, I start my descent into the valley of maturity, apathy, and complacency. If I let the cold embrace me and run away across the deeper, darker ocean green, what I leave behind is more than just a handful of family and friends - I leave behind a sizeable chunk of myself. The trail winds ever higher, alluring and frigid and beckoning me come further up.

But at what cost? These currents are pulling me in toward shore, out to sea, but through it all, I can hear the cry of the gulls. Come on and wade out into the water, for you're drowning on dry land.

The water is tugging at my ankles, rising and hinting at uncertainties. As I looked back one last time last night, I committed to memory all that will be left behind, but not discarded.

So, friends, compatriots, co-conspirators, lovelies, raise your glasses with me.To days gone by, and to turnings of the season. To winter's fall, to summer's freckled knees, to deeper darker oceans and to letting go, to traveling gypsies and the mountain passes.

Kind friends and companions, come join me in rhyme
Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine
Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
For we may and might never all meet here again


1 comment:

  1. Whatever happens, you'll always be the immutable romantic Lady June Whimsy. And I cannot WAIT till I can run away into unknown everythingness like you. Miss us, don't forget us, and don't look back. I pray that you see the face of God in all sorts of unexpected ways. ONE CONDITION: IT HAS TO BE AMAZING.