There is a slight breeze on my face this morning. It swirls a bit and gently pushes the leaves that are falling from the nearby trees, first left then right, but mostly I gather that it comes from the south. It is not Autumn yet here, but it is mid-September. Unlike recent years, this summer has yielded its oppressive humidity at least for now and the weather is pleasant. The temperature this morning is in the low 60’s and the highs throughout the last week has been in the low 80’s, again, without the humidity that suffocates us and sends us back into our homes. It is nice to have a pre-Fall kind of time. The leaves are falling, but not in the numbers to come in the not-too-distant future. The color change that is so beautiful to behold has yet to take place. The leaves falling now are still green in color and the first to just give up at the initial sign of trouble or change, so they just let go and seek a new life and new beginning; one of decay into the ground so they can rise again mixed within the nutrient rich soil that underpins the tree canopy in my back yard.
As I write this, I have been sick for some time now. My body attacked from a virus that has affected so many of us in different ways. I am amazed at those who think it is not real. It is! And those that think it cannot destroy. It can! But our response to this virus is not the real issue, it is how we approach all things that are a political hot topic or any other hardship that befalls any of us here. No matter the calamity or the struggle that lies before us, from afar we view these possible impediments with a wary eye, sheltered by the distance on our sunny beaches while the storm rages at sea. Indeed, the troubles we confront of any size or scale affect all of us differently, as we are all so uniquely different and handle things in our own unique way. And then the winds of life blow the storm to our safe haven and the challenging times hit close to home. It is then our perspective changes. For when the storm is upon us, our responses look very similar, and it is then that we realize that we are so very much more alike than we are different. This is when our humanity shines through the darkness of our differences. In these most challenging times, when the wolves are at our door, we re-value our family and friends, we support each other, we come together, we hope for a better tomorrow, we pray. All these difficulties are both divisive and unifying, potent and benign, mournfully we see the tragedy of their relentless attack, and triumphantly we celebrate our victory over them. Sometimes, I believe, it is necessary for us to be taken to the unknown, to experience the darkness, the uncertainty, and the fragile nature of life itself to fully understand the magnitude of the gift we are given daily, to breathe fresh air, to feel the wind on our face, to just be…at one with our surroundings, our Maker!
The sunlight is snaking its way through the trees and finding a path to the ground that surrounds my sitting area. I am serenaded by the sound of the late summer cicadas that are prevalent in Tennessee. They are not the Brood X that shows up in hoards every few years, but instead the annual species that frequents the trees and farmlands of the south. The noise, which was deafening five weeks ago has abated dramatically. Now the last desperate males are clamoring and fussing, trying desperately to attract a mate before the upcoming colder weather drives them away for this season and the females will meticulously tuck away the next brood of eggs safely underground. As I sit listening, my mind wanders back to my physical struggles of late and I write down some thoughts, just a few words on a pad that turns into a poem about being physically unable to do those things I love to do and yet if I have my mind and my imagination, there in nowhere I cannot go. There are no walls that can hold the spirit, no cage to keep the bird from singing, no sickness that can stop the mind from escaping the prison bars, either built by ourselves or built by others, and wandering into the wild and wonderful.
I hope you enjoy the poem.
Between morning coffee and afternoon tea,
There are places to go and people to see.
My mind escapes this reality.
At evening rounds they come for me, to wake me from my dream.
Today, I served in an English court.
I traded my walls for walls of a different sort.
My soul is a garrison; my mind is a fort.
But now it is time for the daily sport, of evening meal and meds.
Through deep, dark woods of forests old,
Or riding the range from some trail long ago.
I am a searcher of light, a prospector for gold.
A storyteller, spinning tales so bold, that I forget my present state.
Sometimes sailing ships on the ocean blue,
And sometimes a noble tried and true.
I see the world from a different view.
All the while, no one knew, that I even left my room.
I walk through morning fog at dawn.
I sink my toes in a summer lawn.
Present here, but really gone.
I search for my harmonic song, through my mind’s own space.
Somewhere between the morning rain and the afternoon sun,
I have mountains to climb and races to run.
Slaying dragons until the battle is won.
My burdens here, they weigh a ton, my spirit escapes the bars.
I have decorated and redecorated each inch of this womb
Adorned it–with all the ceremony of an Egyptian tomb.
For I know the foot falls will be coming soon
It is time for meds again.
Kelly Andrews © 2021