Tension in the trees

On days when it is not windy I sense a tension in the trees. I feel the trees waiting, as if expecting something, holding their breaths. It is like the air is sizzling with lightning and any moment I could be struck. It feels like there are billions of thin invisible threads criss-crossing through the air. My breath feels stuck in my chest, unable to come in or go out, it has turned to solid and I choke. Eyes wide I turn to the trees for assistance but they are so far away and unmoving. Unmoving, unfeeling? It is a warm t-shirt kind of day but they seem to have been struck by winter, frozen. I wonder when spring will come.

Or perhaps I am just projecting. Perhaps I am just projecting my own longing. I feel myself wanting, craving something. Craving purpose. What is my life for? What should I do with it? How can I even know what I want?

When I ask myself what I want, the answers vary. I want to do good. I want to relax. I want to enjoy life. I want to feel deeply. I want to see beautiful things. I want to create something beautiful. I want to leave some sort of beauty in the world, even if it is small. I want the world to be what I thought it was when I was young. I saw the world in a gold hue, in long summers, in a self-absorbed way believing the world that was in my head was the same as the outside world.

I want all those things, but right now it feels like I am grasping in the dark. I can sense those things are there, I can feel the potential burning just out of reach of my fingertips, but I can not see the light. I am wandering around blindly, hoping to bump into something. I begin to feel hopeless and tired of walking. I want to lay down. It is comfortable and I say that I’ll only rest for 5 minutes, but somehow the time has lengthened into half a year. This frightens me, “Has it really been this long?” I think to myself. And now I am laying down not just to rest, but because I feel paralyzed, trapped.

But I want to move. So every other day, I force myself to at least get up and stand. I take one step forward, rest, and try another step. It is a slow process and I find myself giving up over and over again. But I have to move. I have to get out. I have to progress. As I write these words I stop and let myself soak into them. I’m ready to take the next step.





One of my favorite things about fall is the fog that comes sweeping over the ground in the mornings and evenings, gripping the landscape with its milky-white fingers. By obscuring my view, it transforms the ordinary things – trees, lampposts, houses – into an otherworldly scene, a place where fairy tales can happen. Looking at that giant lake of white it begins to feel like anything could be hidden in its depths.

On sunny days, especially on days when I feel like disassociating from reality, I look at the white, fluffy clouds illuminated by sunlight and wish that I could be up there, in that wispy world. I imagine myself on a plane flying through the clouds, only this time sitting outside of the plane. Except instead of feeling the frigid winds that snake throughout the atmosphere I would be bathed by warmth, my body exhaling in comfort. I imagine myself flying through the clouds, passing through those curtains of mist watching the world below become covered and uncovered, as though it were a shy bride who kept fiddling with her veil. I love imagining myself in the clouds – it feels like such a peaceful place from which the world below can’t help but look beautiful.

Unfortunately I can’t actually be up in the clouds, sitting outside an airplane, but on foggy days the clouds come down to me. They surround me and now I don’t have to imagine – I really am surrounded by a sea of giant gossamer cotton balls of mist. The fog is at once solid and liquid – it creates barriers, obscuring view of the ground, animals, houses, but it also flows, moving away from me as I walk towards it, shrinking from my touch. It is temperamental, only appearing at specific temperatures, heeding its own wishes and not mine, but I can’t help but love it. Because when it does swirl into being I am, once more, among the clouds. 🙂