Today, for the first time in years, I went into my backyard and made a fire.
It made me think of my childhood, a time when – free from deadlines and finished with homework – I would gather the fallen pine needles and alder leaves, then sew them together to make “cloth”.
Some kids saw the pictures of Adam and Eve cowering from God, their flimsy attempt at covering their nudity only highlighting their plight, and wondered at the terrible might of God.
I wanted to know how they discovered and created the first clothing.
I cannot fly but I can whistle.
‘I cannot fly but I can whistle,’ seemed to be the way I approached the world. I couldn’t soar with the birds but maybe if I learned how to speak their language, they might accept me as a strange kin and come to visit.
I’ve been out here for a few hours now, tending the fire. Listening. It is so strange that after years of trauma, breakdowns and therapy, I should find that the medicine I actually needed could be found in my own tiny footsteps.
“Sit beneath the stars. Sing lullabies to the trees and the sleeping bluebirds,” my mind casually hums to me, as though it had not hurled obscenities at me for one flaw or another only hours before.
Sit beneath the stars. Sing lullabies to the trees and the sleeping bluebirds.
And so I sit. I’m hoping that this bacon-wrapped hot dog cooks through on the glowing embers beneath the foil. I’m watching the flames clamor onto the wood as though I’d served them a feast. I’m blowing the ashes away from the smoldering wood and watching them sift into the air like dandelion seeds. I am so relaxed.
Yet I cannot help but feel I have stumbled upon something staggering. Some day – though certainly not today – I will marvel at the magnitude of my discovery, that my notion of what it means to be a proper adult is increasingly by the wild wisdom my childhood. ♦