I've been trying to get all my favorite photos together over the past few months, and I've been transferring them from one computer to another. It's been a longer process than I've hoped, not including any inherent-in-my-being procrastination.
I spent the last few days looking back on some of these. It's a weird time to be reliving all of this from outside of it. When I look at these pictures I see...wide open. I see an eternal horizon, I see the colors of sunset drizzling down ancient mountains. I see sagebrush trailing off as far as the eye can see. Somewhere inside of me, that feeling I felt in Tucumcari, where I had to fling open the doors of my Jeep and just RUN until I couldn't run anymore...it stirs inside of me, for better or for worse.
Right now I can't decide which it is. I'm accomplishing a goal I set for myself right now, and I'm happy about that, and I've stuck with it despite nausea, mood changes, injuries and insecurity. I've had fun, laughing and going out and doing things with people I love, exploring and indulging and laughing, listening....
But everything feels like it's outside the box I'm in. I feel like I'm looking at everything from behind a screen.
What you can't see in the pictures above is the hot wind at your back. Or the smell of sagebrush and juniper and earth. You can't feel the way the sun can be sitting on your shoulder, or the power of a wind whipping up the lip of a canyon.
Worse, I don't know if I built my little plexiglass box or not sometimes. I'm sure that I did, as I've been trying to fend off attacks and trying to be strong despite getting salt ground into some wounds. I know that for every brick I took down from my wall to hand to someone, I've taken it up and reinforced it with another now. It isn't what I wanted and it's probably what no one needs. If I could hand you back those bricks I would. Maybe one day...maybe not.
But I know I'm not the only one. We build our cages and we lock ourselves in them. We think it'll protect us, and we're wrong. We have to fly, or our wings stop working. We have to feel every muscle even when it hurts, so we know how strong we are. Physically I'm doing that.
Emotionally, I'm...holed up in my room watching tornado shows. My heart is screaming at me "People.always.leave!" and I'm trying to drown it out with...dreams of racing up on things that could kill me in seconds flat and feeling their force. Of staring straight in the face of something I've always been afraid of. Behind this screen I can hear the tornado roar, I can watch it toss trees and tear down buildings. My heart can beat a little faster watching a close call. But I'm safe, because it's just pixels. Nothing is real. Nothing is actually happening. I can tuck up under the blankets and watch in wide-eyed wonder without so much as a raindrop dampening my day.
And I guess that's fine, in some cases. But right now? I don't want to be in the cage. I don't want the people I love in theirs either. I want to smell the sagebrush, I want to feel the wind, and I want to feel the charge in the air just before a storm. I want to run.
I want to be outside of these walls.