Spring has begun its transition into summer, and here in Maine, in the blink of an eye, summer will be transitioning into fall. Time is a subject that is easy to grow tired of, but I’ve become much more in tune and obsessed with it in the past few months. During the weekend before the first day of spring this year, for instance, time seemed to both stand still and fly by me in reality and in memory. Moments in time documented by photographs and notes resurfaced and were revisited, which both eased and heightened sadness, joy, pain, and all-encompassing nostalgia.
Sadness, for the time and memories gone by and forgotten. Joy, for remembered traditions, lessons learned, and love shared throughout time. Pain, for the loss of some traditions, lessons not learned, and because, love. Nostalgia can be a real bitch, and while I do apologize for cursing, I don’t apologize for the sentiment. Adoring attachment makes loss unbearable, but it can also make healing feel more possible.
In the days, weeks, and now months since the first day of spring, I’ve frequented a familial place where the tar road meets dirt; grassy embankments meet cool, babbling water; the present intermingles with the past. I feel the most spiritual here, where the laws of nature, while unavoidably restricted by laws of mankind, hold ultimate power. Where I can hold on to the past, while feeling comfortable about moving into the future. Where the world feels optimistically small, and not helplessly suffocating. Where respite is religion, and where love takes many forms. It is here that I can find closure, and the strength to carry on.
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone,
with not a single friend, for they are all smilers
and talkers and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to
the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree.
I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible.
I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as
an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone into the woods with me,
I must love you very much.*
*Mary Oliver’s “How I Go To The Woods”