Double Exposure

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The wind smells of rain. More than that, it smells of green and of earth. If I stand still and close my eyes and pretend that I can’t hear the cars rushing by on 11th, and 6th, and 7th, or the sound of the factories two blocks over, or people coming out of their houses to head off to work, I can imagine that I’m in a forest coming into its pre-spring swing.

Overhead, collared doves sing their mock-crow cries. There’s pairs and pairs of them now in the neighborhood; five years ago or less, there’d been a single pair that grabbed my attention and reminded me of the mourning doves I hadn’t seen since we left the east coast. The Eurasian collared dove is larger, lighter in color, and when compared to the call of the mourning dove, sounds significantly cheerier. Their “whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo” has  faster tempo and a higher pitch. It’s their landing and take-off cry that makes me smile. They sound like they’re mimicking crows in a condescending way.

There’s robins, too, and scrub jays. Now and again I can hear the call of  stellar’s jay from a few blocks over. Crows, of course, and because it’s not quite spring, seagulls, too. Finches, and hummingbirds. Others that are too fast for me to spot and name and know.

The last of the snowdrop flowers hang heavy, their petals ready to drop. Crocuses dot the area with their yellows and purples and whites. Hellebore dot a number of gardens, daffodil greens are poking up, eager for their turn, and an assortment of buds to trees and shrubs I don’t know the names for. Moss is neon green on tree trunks and branches, dropping down when the wind blows hard, so that the sky seems to rain twigs and moss clumps as much as it does water.

I love this time of year, when it’s damp and cold and grey-skied and blustery, but with enough green in the air that I crave to have my hands in the soil and grass under my bare feet.

I would reach for you, except you are already with me, around me and within me. I imagine it like a double exposed bit of film, with us taking up the same amount of space, or near enough. Your head is taller than mine (whose isn’t?), your limbs don’t quite fit within mine, and we are both of us ghostly, not quite solid in one another’s world. Present, yes, and so close to one another as to be on top of each other, but only substantial if one focuses just so. Our movements are not quite in synch, either. We are moving together in general, but there’s a lag, something that looks and feels at times like a mis-step, as if we’re both trying to lead in a dance, or both trying to follow. It’s not a lag, not really, though maybe we do both try to lead, or try to follow, at the same time. It’s just a difference in perception, a difference in time, a difference in space. I don’t know.

How is it I can feel so detached from you at times, as if you’ve left, as if maybe you’ve never been, and at other times, I can feel you super-imposed upon me, such a part of the material that makes up who I am that you seem another part of myself? Or, do I feel like I’m part of you? Is there a difference.

I do like that, in those moments of it feeling like you’ve never been more than just a piece of a story I’ve told myself, in those moments, that feeling is — usually, typically, mostly — bittersweet, and no longer crippling. When resentment and anger to rise up, it’s easy to let it be, and then let it go. To feel the feels and not hold on to them. To know they’re just part of the wave that is the ocean that is you. More, I like when those moments pass, when I am brought out of that trough, carried to the crest, and granted visibility of that unending vastness of you. Or, greater visibility. One cannot see the whole ocean that one is adrift within.

I do like that I don’t give a shit about what your name is, or who I mean when I say ‘Poseidon,’ or whether I call you that, or beloved, or my god, or whatever. I do like that, my default association with ‘Poseidon’ is back to ‘the one who has been with me since girlhood’ rather than ‘this one who was worshiped before and is being worshiped again in these contexts by these people.’ Do I wish you’d given me a different name to begin with, something less . . . well, rooted in certain places with certain stories? Sure, sometimes, but, mostly, I don’t care, and I like that, too.

So many things are hard. So much is a struggle. There are things that I don’t want to struggle over. You are one of them. So I accept, and I let myself again and again find my mooring within you, and when I am not elated, and when I am not awash in adoration for you and that sense of adoration from you, I am, at the least, content, and this, I think, is a very good.

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