My mother has always said that I’m a runner. When the going gets tough, I get going. She says I’ve done it ever since I was a little girl. And I have to say, I do remember a smaller version of myself, backpack fully loaded, heading out the door. Proclaiming to any who was listening that I was leaving, and never coming back.
I think it’s because people exhaust me. And not in a bad way, just in the way that all of your heavy hearts are loud in my ears. Your sadness and your anger and your sorrows and your indignations are like symbols clashing in the confines of my head. It’s a lot to bear. Because I love the world, very much. I love people, because I know what they are capable of. The vast capacity we have to love is so beautiful it brings me to tears. The essence of our spirits, of our humanities, is the stuff that great symphonies are made of. And yet, we are such a disappointment. Capable of such greatness, but rarely living up to it. And I don’t exclude myself here—I carry my own weight in this. I play my own part. I am no better.
But, I am tired. I do grow weary of watching us ignite ourselves. The fumes of our beings are toxic, and they cloud up in the lining of my vision. I choke upon the burning of our spirits. My body craves fresh air. All of this negativity is dangerous to fragile souls, which all of us are. So delicate. And I find myself growing angry. Angry at injustice, at cruelty, at the dichotomous natures of everything we are. And so I run away.
I am not abandoning the world. I am just giving myself a break from it. Allowing the wells of my love to refill themselves in the quietude of nature. In the way the sun warms the stones that line the banks of rivers. In the way the river baptizes me with the coolness of her depths. Her roaring crashes send a fine sheen that mists upon my skin, invigorating me. Bringing me back.
I need to take moments, here and there, to lie amidst the innocence of natural things. To peer into the faces of the flowers that grow wild along the lining of the trail. To let the butterflies fan the beading sweat that blossoms on my upper brow. Gossamer wings brushing up against the flesh.
It’s because I love you that I have to do this. It’s because I know we’re better than we are. We just lose sight of that. Things like love don’t come and go. They are always there, but they are buried beneath the mountains of distraction that we build throughout our days. To rediscover them is our duty. And how we do it is the path we choose.
And so, I choose this one. A path long overgrown by a nature that has sought to reclaim all that it has lost. Beside a river, where I can dip my feet into the healing waters that restore the broken soul. Come meditate with me. Let the river take your burdens and carry them away downstream. Let her fill you up with all things new and all things love. Because, in the end, that is all we ever have.