Sometimes I Watch the Sky

Do you ever notice how even nature is transformed beneath the gaze of our fragile inner selves? On a night hike a few days ago when I’d summoned some strength, the moon itself appeared cradled in its own warm bed. The next day when I was in real trouble and in an awful amount of pain, the sun appeared as if covered by gauze, as if it had been badly wounded and hastily tended to in the aftermath.

I’ve been at war with my body again; often it’s a secret, silent battle that takes me by surprise in the dead of night or in the loving arms of my husband. I’ve developed the habit of fighting P off like he’s the enemy when I’m infiltrated by the past that way, and I’m angry at him for not being able to protect me properly or take me to some new place where I cannot be hurt.

It is misplaced anger, and I know that, and I’ve been in some silent communication with my mother, wherever she is.

And I’ve been angry at myself for not finding some ridge from which to observe without becoming my feelings, without believing in them with my whole heart. It is only ever after that I can see what I’ve done. When will I learn?

Thankfully my therapist is a fighter. He has learned to tell me no. He has learned to say, no, you’re staying here with me and we’ll work through this together. This is the glorious work we’ve undertaken. (It wasn’t always this way; he is changing and shifting and loving me differently, far more adeptly.)

I’ve been writing to him about all the myriad ways I’m coming back to myself this time,

I snuck past the gate and walked five or so miles northbound on the *** earlier today. There were pileated woodpeckers everywhere, and I watched one lose his grip on an old, dead pine and break his fall with his own wings. The females followed the males to gingerly feed where they’d already pecked.

I was free to walk down the center yellow line, which of course I did.

Do you ever just park somewhere and watch the sky? We haven’t seen the sun in days.

Have you been to that garden shop on *********? Sometimes I just go to wander the rooms and watch the light and they don’t seem to mind.

Sometimes I watch the sky, he wrote. Often I watch birds.

Last time we were together P wondered aloud whether our touching had triggered me somehow, but I remember visiting a place in myself where I know my sanity lives. Where something bright and vast and original stays no matter the battles, the storms, and the pain they bring.

“What was it like touching me?” I asked him, my voice shaking.

“Well…” he breathed.

“There were so many things happening at once.”

“I felt concerned for you, that I might be hurting you, but I also remember feeling so quiet and still inside.

And warm.”

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