Ritual Escape

Ritual Escape

I drove out here in search of yet another place I could escape to alone. The sun is set now but there is still enough light to make the sky a haze of blue and to allow the clouds to reveal their shapes against the backdrop of the atmosphere. I really wanted something to behold….what I find is that this gravel road is ordinary and it is truly the combination of all things that make up a given moment that inspires. In that regard it does not matter where I am at as long as I allow myself to be open from all sides. I start by evaluating my surroundings to bring interest to what seems commonplace…

I notice that the tire tracks on this dead end road go all the way to the end of it. Either someone else has used this for their getaway or maybe just the farmers use it as a utility to get to the edge of their land. I see soybeans on either side of me. If you stare out at them and allow yourself to lose focus they seem like a stadium full of eager fans. They swing their arms in excitement for the game and each new gust of wind causes them to do the wave. Peering back and forth across the horizon I pause a moment to think about the one low dark cloud directly ahead of me. Every so often it emits a light from within which must be electricity but it is too weak and too enveloped to amount to anything. I gaze upon the highway past the end of this road with all the endless cars and semi trucks and trailers following one another in quick succession. They seem like tiny cells with headlights now traveling along a vein with destination and purpose. Part of me wants to join them, but I have yet to determine what my destination is and my purpose does not include that sort of journey just yet.

For a while I watched the light fade in the distance as the sun ducked lower behind the endless hills and trees. I let the music wash over me. I started with Lily singing “would you please take me away” and then moved on to selections from X&Y. I must have played “fix you” three times before letting myself hear another.

The first time was so “when you lose something you can’t replace” could stab me in the heart and make me feel again. I need to feel these emotions like I need water. I drink it in and let it spill from my eyes. I rolled my windows down and let the warm summer wind whip at my hair and cause the tear streaks to feel cold against my skin. I am overwhelmed and my mind wanders through different events that have led to this day. Each thing seems to have happened for a reason, but the pain of it all calls great questions to the forefront. In reality I have to hold these powerful emotions deep inside, pushing them down daily so I can get through all the things that need to be done, but out here I can let them free and so I do.

The second time was so “when you love someone and it goes to waste”, could help me wrap my anger around the hole in my heart and let the regret and the hatred sink into the space. I wipe the tears from my eyes and stare at myself for a second in the rear-view mirror to check that I still feel as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside. Just as I needed that first wave like water, so I need this second wave like air. With every breath I feel the heat of this thing inside of me grow, like an army preparing for battle. I check the status of my surroundings to ensure that everything is in order and to my favor because I know that awareness and advantage are critical pre-requisites for ushering out the words “cry havoc”. I have to arm myself with strength fueled by anything I can find and even if there is a primal rage at the center of it, it will still protect me from the demons I am sure to face.

Then the last time brings me “lights will guide you home…”. With this I thoughtfully put a pony tail holder around my unmanageable locks and resolve that I WILL get home and I that I just need to find the light that will help guide me there. The road that has led me here has been long and though it seems I am lost, a little piece of my inside knows for certain that I am not as off course as I feel. This third wave is like fire. I have a hope burning deep inside me with embers that glow and crack when life offers something unexpected and inspiring. Though these flashes are sometimes far and few between their power is strong and can sustain for a great long while.

At this moment I am finally ignited and ready to begin so I let the next selection play…

It’s almost dark now, only a hint of what was once a bright sunshiny day remains. All that is left is a dim light out past the interstate and the growing dark cloud and the trees and the soybeans. The wind has turned cool and I feel relaxed and open. For a moment it is peaceful and calm and I think to myself how wonderful life would be if more seconds, minutes, and hours could be like this….when there is a quiet tranquility and you are free to look inside the mirror of yourself and just feel. It is the simplicity of it that makes it so rare.

I’m not afraid of the dark. I embrace it as a sister to the song my soul sings. It laments about the pain and suffering and dances in circles around all the things in life that magnify those emotions. But even in this revealing statement I must admit there is a yang to this yin. There is the part of me that rises out of such a wretched state at the idea of a power in the universe that is, in its very essence, good and just. This notion is like a tiny silver light that I hold nearer to me than any other intangible possession. It is my faith in this that keeps me balanced and moving forward. The light goes through cycles of waxing and waning but never overpowers my dark nature and never winks out. It is just there to give me the intestinal fortitude when I most need it.

The cloud that was once off in the distance has now grown tenfold and has surrounded me and is pouring rain on my little escape of an island out here at the edge of civilization. The serenity of the sunset has been interrupted by this occurrence and I can’t help but to think to myself how it is such irony that this scenario parallels my real life so completely. The one tiny dark cloud turned almost instantly into a storm of fury with the power to produce enough lightning and rain so that all of nature is somehow affected. The storm seems to have put a damper on all those fans flashing their firefly cameras out in the fields in every direction. There is a family of deer winding their way through the field to my left. Like the cars on the highway they too seem to have direction and purpose and I wonder if it is because of the storm or perhaps they are unaffected by it and simply know where to go and why. I also wonder for a second if they are bothered by the change in weather and the downpour, and then I thoughtfully presume that they would not know any difference as this is what Mother Nature has offered them their whole existence and so they just accept it.

The flashes of lightning are getting closer now and for the first time there is thunder to accompany it. All I can think as this puts a smile on my face is “it’s about time”. Rob sings “Welcome to the real world”…and suddenly my mood is changing. In the next instant I smell the aroma of campfire waft through my escape and this brings me joy and reminds me of August and all the things I have to look forward to. The sound of the thunder, the smell of the firewood, and the unexpected lyric are not a coincidence. The combination has been provided to me with a purpose and the realization of what has just happened instantly replenishes the source of my silver light. I breathe in deep and turn up the next track – Fire on the mountain. Let me pause a bit to enjoy….

As time slips away I feel I have gotten all I need from these sights and sounds. My senses are sharpened and I am once again made new from this ritual. Though the storm lingers and may follow me back to reality, I am confident in my search for the way home and for truth. I am filled once more with determination to face life, whatever it might bring and I resolve to embrace each new day with a calm that rivals the sunset and a fury known only in the force of nature. With that, the wind and the silence escort me away…

___________________________________________

Original Copy in Turmoil and Transformation
July 24, 2009

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