Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For All You Lovers Out There

Winding our way up the side of a mountain, my lungs work hard to steal oxygen from the thin air. Even though I'm hauling a pack filled with fleece, root vegetables and books, each step grows lighter as I unload the weighty stories I've carried with me for the better part of the year.

This is not the first time we've climbed this trail side by side, planned out meals beforehand, shared the car ride here and each others' heat when we settle into a nest of blankets for the night. We've hardly spoken in months, and given that we're hiking our way to three days in the remote woods to camp in a tightly-packed tipi with five of our friends, we put this time together to use.

I explain the troubling way I've been thinking about our relationship. If you really loved me then you would...what follows is an extensive list. But today, I surrender these thoughts.

Years ago, I surrendered my heart to you while barreling east across the blurred plains of Nebraska. My body followed greedily, submerged and intoxicated by the steadiness of your voice. Lying on the frozen, dark road in nowhere-Ohio, I pressed my body against yours, subliminally aware of our limited time together. Months later, we cry while sitting beneath a notable, lone cottonwood that stands in the middle of a pasture off Minnesota Creek.  The ground has thawed, irrigation water bubbles down the furrows of the field, and the leaves on the tree, freshly unfolded, wave excitedly in the breeze. My heart feels like it has come out of my chest, flipping wildly on the ground like a struggling fish searching for it's sea.  I impart my hope into your words. I catch meaning where there is none.

What I see today is that love has no meaning. It only is, and by letting it be as it is without needing or waiting or wanting it reveals itself with clarity. You listen to me with tenderness. We laugh at the madness of the mind and my capacity for manipulation. My stories set aside, I see you. I see the way in which I haven't seen you. I see the love that pours out of you.

A deep knowing settles inside of me like a tap root that reaches past my heart and down into my stomach. No matter what happens, if all the gnawing fears I once invented come to pass, the gift of letting go will continue to nourish me. Though holding on comes easily, it is in the conscious practice of releasing that I find ease and peace and freedom.

Photo: Autumn Eaton <3

My Valentine's date at the bus stop ready to shred it.

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