Recalibrating

And I didn’t want my face to be puffy—and don’t like to upset the animals—but I was crying as I took this first picture.

For various reasons that day, I couldn’t hold back the ocean and—as Killian and Smudge moved about their deck—painted my face with loneliness and afternoon sun.

And science says tears carry stress hormones out of the body, leaving us more chemically-balanced but I wasn’t feeling that hope at that time. For life is so thick sometimes. Like windshield smeared with dirt—like the air in Salt Lake City, white snow on the ground Alpine-wholesome while the mountains disappear into 55.5 µg/m³ smog—and true sight is lost inside microscopic complexities and forfeit to sudden worrisome torrents, unseen mountains masked by chemical-laden water breaking free (finally) to flow down slopes of pine needles and skin.

And Killian is an orange kitty with dementia, who is a sweet, playful ham until his parents get home—when he runs and hides as if he’s never seen them before—and Smudge, the black and white is normally more aloof so after this picture—taken exactly 30 days ago; a vision of idealism–I decided to delete my Facebooks. To give up the charade. To celebrate having had a good run—sharing my authentic and whole self, seeing others do the same—and to honor that the world is a dynamic place where I’ve changed, and where tears falling from eyes hold sorrow as it leaves the body.

And today is the last day I can go back and retrieve anything—in where like I’m imagining you log on and are immediately faced with “I told you so,”, and maybe I’d apologize to Zuck personally via email?; I mean, I just don’t know, it’s so awkward and uncharted—but the interesting thing is that I posted so many things, so many pictures, so much fluff, comments, etc. but there’s only one thing that I specifically remembered to go back and save, and that’s the picture of Livy falling asleep in my bed after our night in the ER following her first grand mal seizure at Classic Skating. Pic 2. Julia had seen it happen—I wasn’t even there; they were with their stepmom—and was hysterical/having a panic attack, so Livys then-stepbrother Taylor rode in the ambulance with Liv because their stepmom had to drive the rest of the kids behind the ambulance to the hospital. And the picture itself is nothing really; of a teen girl—covers messy, on her side, face angled towards the mattress; worn, spent, exhausted, alive, safe in my bed after a dangerous day—but it’s everything.

Because some things you can’t ever truly savor until you let the pain bubble up and through, until the mountains are masked and you feel so lonely you’re crying on a Republican’s deck. Until the terror that you’re watching your baby sister die—paramedics hovering over her, asking if she can remember her name and how old she is—gets recalibrated into driving up to Ogden after work to get her from college because you miss her. Until you see your child breathe in your bed, knowing that the deep gift of sorrow and redemption is that your life can now be as profound as you’ll allow.

Until your fairy child has epilepsy (and also depression, anxiety and a micro-tumor on her pituitary) and your firstborn loves like a big dream and a kitty named Smudge is the risen humanity you desperately need, who with paws on your knees one lonely day, asks “Are you OK? Can I help?”

And Time itself dilates—science says that too—and all things have the hope for bearing us back into the sensation of love. So right here, now, today, this year, and [emboldened by gravity’s warping of Time] over this entire life upon this planet, I move towards Julia, Livy, Smudge, Killian, tears, writing, pictures, mountains, sorrow, healing, gratitude, creativity, and all forces yet unknown breaking our culture of loneliness, their black and white fur earnestly checking in with chemical-covered faces and afternoon sun on early November days.

[Edit, 12/11/2019:  And when I say I’m lonely, I don’t mean for human companionship. You can be with someone, married or otherwise mated, and still be lonely. What makes me feel lonely—or did on that day—was “the machine”. The march of humanity blindly forward towards their Truman Show; what makes me lonely is the assumptions we make about others, the misguided envy; how hard it is to stop from saying something hurtful and how we find it perfectly acceptable to not reach out, to help. It isn’t that I believe people are bad or selfish; its actually that I believe they’re good and just can’t be quiet].

Many different leaves

And it’s morning, and I’m walking Kora in downtown Salt Lake City, close to the big temple.

It’s the last two days I’m sitting for her family because they’re moving to Park City so I am feeling that—saying goodbye to Kora as well as Twix and Breezy—and confronting the dynamic nature of life and the beauty inherent in the savoring of something knowing in advance that it won’t last.

And the trees are half-in and half-out of Fall—some with green foliage attached— and the leaves that are on the ground are not yet soggy almost as if the night is still hanging on to summer.

And people are always friendly down here. As they walk to their service work for the LDS church they wear name badges, and in suits and dresses, stiffly hold hands with their spouse of 30 years. In unwavering focus on their perceived devotion to God, they float Softly within a padded existence of religion, giving hearty good mornings to strangers because that’s protocol, and act out devotion, playing into the substance of the “Vast Other” through small talk and worlds external to their own vulnerable emotional spaces. She’s “happy”; he’s “happy”; and heavenly father walks with them in their union, like two human beings dictated into existence, floating by in an Elder Smith nametag and flowered rayon skirt like paper dolls astride the knowing silence of immeasurable potential that is (to me) the deeper experience known as God.

And inside my own (often) bubbling, frothy mental space this morning it’s becoming more clear than ever that two disparate truths can coexist. That these religious people and my self and Kora are living a unified whole.

Because on this morning of balancing between seasons, the leaves pull aside summer with such grace it becomes a seduction, and walking beside sterile couples searching for an experience of anything but, I’m inside my life with even more ferocity. For walking a path of meaningful togetherness is fertile for revelations of self when nametagged people (futilely labeling limitlessness) are the seasons of humanity bearing leaves of different growth. Where resting into a morning is a synchronicity in which we’re all just fragments of a larger creation breathing itself into being.�

And in the sight of such blending, I can see my depths more clearly, for we do not have to understand the truths of another to become more whole because of them. And so it is that from sterility and vastness, goodbyes and protocol, on a fall morning, I walk beside the seasons, like a Summer giving itself constantly to Autumn.