Everything I start to write seems useless, trite, redundant. I stand arms by my side, looking west, like an Easter Island head. There is something there beckoning me. What comes out of me lacks color. I sketch everything in vine charcoal. Nothing color, just grays. It is all easily smudged. And yet what is inside of me is bubbling and vibrant. I just cannot translate it. It is indigo and violet and smells of cedar and sage and pinecones. Between inside and outside, I feel restless, depressed, because writing has always come easily. I don't have writer's block, per se. But the past few weeks, I have felt stuck in my language. It is not enough. I need twenty-four words for the idea of identity and restlessness. Nothing is quite right. When I meditate and sit still with my discomfort, I see corn fields spread around me. Signs of fertility and prosperity, but to me, it is a sign of home. While I love many things about our town and neighborhood, I miss wide open skies and spaces to run. Though place has never meant a terribly great deal to me, the suburbs are driving me gray and fat. I can't muster the energy to leave the house anymore. I cannot get excited about the farmer's market and the dying lake.
Wherever you go, there you are, as the saying goes. Or not matter how light you pack, you always take your shit with you. That's another saying. But I don't want to run away. That is not my goal. I am tired of New Jersey and no left turns. I crave wide open swaths of land in which to roam. I have nothing to offer here, and here has less to offer me than before. I want to watch the children run, learn the land, tend a large garden. I want them to learn to track and build lean-tos. To have moonlit rituals without people asking me what the fire was for and why we were dancing. I pace my cage. There is a fish aquarium quality to the suburbs that unnerves me. Our dining room windows look out on our neighbor's unfinished house. From the windows to their driveway is fifteen feet. I must pull the blinds if I don't want people to wave to me inside my own house. I hear the idle gossip from Facebook and texts and who gets invited where, and I just want to opt out now.
My feet crave earth beneath them. My fingernails call to plants to break them down. I chew them now, because outside work used to keep them short and sweet. I want to talk about canning food and chopping firewood. I want to talk about existence rather than boredom. I want to help raise barns, if I have to interact with my neighbors, not hear fat jokes, and chitchat about who has what and how much. Around here, the trees are all being removed. It makes sense. Our land is too wet to support such large trees, which uproot in hurricanes and winter storms. I mourn each one, even as I know the necessity of removing them. It is this place that demands it. And I think I want a place that can handle large trees. I crave a surrounding that venerates solitude without whispers or fear of depression. I don't want to fit in. I just want to be. These suburbs beg for peering out curtains and drawing conclusions. I engage in it too, and it is a part of myself that I hate.
I read this book recently called the Snow Child. It opens with a stillbirth. Set in 1920s, it is about this infertile couple who decide to homestead in Alaska, because they can no longer handle the world after the death of their only son. They want to be alone. Completely, utterly alone. Until they make a snow child who comes to life.
It took me months and months to read this book. I would start it. When the stillbirth was mentioned, I would place it aside. I no longer want to read solely about this heartbreak I know intimately. No longer. And yet, the book was not about stillbirth at all. Just one part of their story. And the rest of it, I got it. I wanted that self-sufficiency of an Alaskan homesteader in 1920. I understood the way stillbirth makes you crave mere existence, rather than the idleness of wealth and comforts. As I read, I coveted the harshness of winter, the land that runs for months around that. The part that is most decisive and positive of what is needed and important. I am mostly indifferent, and wishy-washy here in this life, because nothing seems that important or life altering. Do I want to eat at Cheesecake Factory or Applebees? Do I want to shop at Lowe's or Home Depot?
I move through this life after Lucia's death. Stillbirth is just one part of my story, but it is the bend in the road. The thing that reprioritized everything. That part of me, the one before Lucia, falls on my soul yard pulverized. I keep thinking of that Pema Chodron quote, "Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us." And maybe I am ready to move past the annihilation and into that which is indestructible. That part of me that seeks aloneness is getting louder and louder. May I not leave a trail.