Friday, April 26, 2013
It is not Johnny Cash I hear in my head when I walk in these woods this time of year, but rather the voice of something more remote, rising up from inside of me, a stirring of inner leaves I can’t always believe.
Although I stumble over sticks and stones, it’s not until I come upon the chips of wood that I take pause, trees cut to pieces before me, leaving bruises on the landscape, and scars in the woods I keep inside my head, as if each of our personal sins has done its best to ruin what lay outside our lives, polluting the landscape so that it cannot be easily cured.
I came this way because I thought I would find peace from cracked concrete and stench of the corrupt city I must live my ordinary life in, profiting from the rape of nature while I ache over it, troubled by the life I am forced to lead rather than the one I wished for.
Still at these times, I steer by way back to the place I started, back to the choices I thought I’d made correctly, but turned out wrong, determined in my life to walk at line towards something I still see as possible, where trees still grow, and yet, I always come to places like this, filled with fallen chips.
You can’t escape the life once you’re in it, viewed skewed by too few alternate routes, everything becomes a short cut to someplace else (even if it’s not where I wanted to be), easy money to be made as long as I am willing to sell my soul to get it, each time one more chip added to the ever rising pile, leaving less on the stump with which to grow, so in the end, I feel hollowed out, out of breath, with no firm footing anywhere that a misstep could cause even more to break.
I need to know what’s left, where the chips stop and the tree truck remains, struggling to keep from feeding too much off other tree trunks and keeping free of being feed for them, hoping that over time, I had retained enough real wood to feel solid again.
I walk the line – not because I can resist the call of the wild woods to wander in where I might risk turning to chips for some promise of fortune – but because I need to know where I am and where I am going, even if in the end, where I end up isn’t as glorious as I envisioned when I started. I want to end up where the trees still grow and the grass is still green, and where I can feel I’ve done nothing to diminish either. I want to hear the breeze through the leaves and breathe deep the pure scent, even if in getting there I was something less than pure.
I may be on a path least traveled, but it is my firm foot print I see behind me, not the ghosts of some haunting I fear.
This is not to condemn those who take other paths – some of whom I love, if cannot follow – but we each must walk our own path to wherever those paths lea, and though we stumble over stones, each in our own way, we call out in that vast wood, listening to the other, if only to rest assured we are not alone.