My world is packed up in boxes in my parent’s garage. Stacks of important papers and photographs, hats and shoes, books I’ve never read and albums I haven’t listened to in years. We pulled these things from a home that was threatened by flames and forces we can’t control.
We did not grab one another when the wall of our home was smoking from the inside out into the night. No, we placed our arms around computer screens and television sets, guns and guitars. We threw our possessions on the earth to be saved and to save us from the need we might feel to replace them.
What it would cost us to purchase another would mean time and money, the things that take up the biggest part of us some days.
And now here it all sits waiting for us to use it. To go through the books and read the stories inside. To listen to the music, to watch others live their lives on the television screen, to step into our favorite dress or shirt and go out into the world to show it off.
Some days I don’t want all of this shit. I don’t want any of it. I don’t want a choice between red boots or black, I don’t want the papers reminding me to pay, I don’t want the movies suggesting I should stay in and watch a world that doesn’t exist for us.
I don’t want the memories waiting in boxes for me to recall what we were when we were sixteen and sun kissed and scared to death.
I don’t want it weighing on me.
Yesterday a wise voice coming through the radio on my car spoke to me.
He told me that we do not have a soul, we have a body.
I pause to think of this today when my clothes feel heavy against the wet sticky heat of the summer and the body that houses my soul is feeling tired at the thought of moving through the tasks we’ve laid out for the day.
And I think about where my soul might live next.
Perhaps in the body of the yellow bird that returns to the feeder outside of this office window, concerned with nothing but her next bite, spreading her wings and cooling herself in the puddles left from an early morning rain.
A bird attached to nothing but the sky.
Or maybe a long living oak with the mission to reach my branches out to the sun in the summer, to release them in the autumn chill and sleep until the spring sun asks me gently to bloom again.
I would have roots that would keep me grounded and grass and branches from the aspen or the birch to keep me company, to lean on, to protect me from the wind.
Maybe a wildflower, a thistle or a cricket screeching my song into the night.
I could be all of those things.
But today I don’t want to be attached to anything…
I have felt like this as a teenager, before I understood what I was so anxious about, what it was that was worrying me.
Why I suddenly had so many emotions pulling at my skin.
I remember walking out into the rain on a cool late summer evening. I wasn’t upset or worried or milling anything over in my mind. I just wanted to be out there, away from the four walls of a house, away from the telephone and parents who wanted to talk, things that needed to be thought through. I don’t know why, but I felt heavy that day with the business of being human and I wanted nothing more than to be a blade of grass, grounded and soaked in this rain.
I walked further into the protection of the oak groves and stepped off of my path, then slowly out of my shoes and finally out of my clothing. I stood there in the lush green of the weeds and wild fruit bushes, under a canopy of leaves dripping the rain down through their branches and onto my bare skin. There I was naked and caught in the moment of what it feels like to be so alone and so exposed and so unbelievably grateful for the silence and familiarity of nature.
I was comfortable like this for only moments before I glanced down at my pale skin and recognized that imperfect body once again as my own. But for a moment I was there, holding my breath, and I was the rain and the clouds and the dirt. I was the grass and the still, damp air.
I wasn’t my body.
I was my soul.
I know I am blessed as a human, blessed to have this soul in this body with a voice that can sing out loud, arms that I can wrap around the people I love and legs capable of moving me to hilltops to get closer to the sky. I understand that those boxes are stacked high and filled with things that many people would love to possess. I am not taking them for granted and I am not wishing for the reminders of a good life that are held in those albums to disappear. I am not wishing them away.
Today I am just asking to not be held accountable for my possessions or a body that doesn’t do much to hide the relentless emotions of a soul that too often crinkles up my nose when it cries, bites the scar on her lip in worry, screams air out of her lungs in frustration and laughs with an enthusiasm that sometimes cannot be contained.
Today I am just taking a moment to remember that someday my soul may have wings…