This was the analogy I used when talking with a dear friend last night, describing my recent past and foreseeable future. It’s as accurate as you could imagine, even adding in unseasonably warm temps last night and this morning. Hell, I even got a bug bite on my ankle from somewhere, and I thought we were pretty much done with those, it being mid-October and all.
It’s hard work. There are times I feel a little panicky because I’ve lost the path temporarily. I feel lost and tired and I sit down and cry awhile and stab the ground with my rusty knife, blaming the earth and saying it’s not fair that I’m lost. Then I pick up, or someone picks me up and gently pushes me forward, and I come to a cold, clear stream, drink and drink from it and feel somewhat refreshed and ready to go on. Sometimes there’s an unexpected clearing, and I can sit down on a rock and rest. There are noises from all around, but mostly it is a solitary journey. Nobody can come with me, though I encounter many along the way.
On the positive, I feel like the journey is finite, and I know if I keep going, I will eventually get there. I’m not just blindly panicked and hacking at everything, stepping off the path and crushing a butterfly and fucking up all of human history. But this next bit is uphill, and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed with the overgrowth, the heat, the bugs biting me, the animal voices calling out and scaring me. I can’t say I feel stronger yet, but I think at least I will feel better when I finally get through the jungle.
The small one and I got two days’ worth of homework done last night – always better to get ahead, I keep telling him, so you have time to do what you want later in the week. He is eating everything in sight once again – his lunches come home half-eaten because he doesn’t have time to get through them; 20 minutes is just not enough.
A girlfriend came over and we giggled and shared bourbon and secrets. It was the very best thing, to find a friend in the clearing of the jungle, who brought a gift from another friend no less. We called the third friend – the instigator of the evening’s frivolity and gifts, and I marveled at the technology which enables these connections, amongst people who would otherwise not have communicated. I cannot think on it too hard as it stuns me – this much love and acceptance – and brings me to tears.
Picking up my pack, my knife cleaned off, and somewhat refreshed, I move on.