[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara
There are days, as today for example, when I would like to get dressed warm enough for the weather, carefully slip my purse over my shoulders, look around to make sure everything is in its proper place, walk out the front door of my house, lock it, and without looking back, walk away. Walk until the road crosses that little bridge under which flows the small river that was my companion, lo these many years, and throw in the key.
Then just walk on.
The direction now is no longer important. Walking will get me the farthest because it will cost less. I could take the bus but they confuse me so much. A taxi I cannot afford. Walking then. As I walk I can notice my world as I have never seen it with so much intensity.
I can imagine already seeing snowdrops popping up in someone’s front yard under a Japanese maple with its lovely orange branches.
I can see robins flitting about under the influence of a Spring that is just around February’s corner. As I continue, farther from town and into the farm lands, horses and cattle are already roaming the fields. It’s Saturday so children too have come out of their homes to play in greening yards or on paved driveways. There is less and less traffic here.
The road that chose me takes me along another small river, more of a drainage system than a river, really. Here and there where in the wider sections ducks actively seek for food. There are the small divers such as buffleheads, hooded mergansers and golden eyes. There are the dabblers, mallards and widgeons, who plunge their heads into the murky depths then pop up again like battery-operated toys. Black willows and cottonwoods lean over the ponds, some of their branches and trunks broken in a Winter ice storm angling down into the dark waters revealing oily reflections.
Overhead flock after flock of Glaucous-winged gulls fly. They too are on their way to feed. By there direction it’s easy to tell they’re going to the landfill for their daily feast.
You may wonder why I haven’t mentioned the many sounds emanating from such a scene. To tell the truth, it’s my hearing. It isn’t as good as it used to be. There was a time I remember when I could pin-point the location of a tiny golden-crowned kinglet in a tall cottonwood by its weak call, ‘tsit-tsit-tsit’ repeated. Still I can hear louder calls, Canada geese coming in for a landing on one of those ponds formed of brackish waters and in a backyard, a chainsaw; someone busy cutting up firewood.
I hear a baby crying as a mother is putting it in the backseat of the family’s SUV. I think, what a world, that a baby has to ride out of sight of its mother and turned so it cannot see anything. There is evil at work at every level of this man’s world and it’s called ‘security’ and ‘safety’ yet the more of that there is, the less there actually is.
That brings me back to the beginning of my thought-wanderings. There is something calling me that this life which I’ve taken to observe more the less I desire to participate in, is preventing me from responding to. That troubles me because how do I know, how can I know, if the calling is not more important than the staying? How can I know the calling will wait for me, for my ambivalence resulting from my decision not to walk out on the ephemeral comfort of a house and throw away the key today?
I know about callings. I’ve had quite a few in this one life alone. If they are not responded to, they go on to someone else and later I read about them, some famous, some both, famous and martyred. I cannot know if they changed the world but they expressed a courage I chose not to.
If I did leave my house today and threw away the key, would I find such courage? Is it too late and should I just wait?
It’s been raining, it seems, forever and looking out the window I can tell the sun is going to, once again valiantly try to break through the endless clouds and once again, fail.
I’m going to make a fresh pot of coffee and answer some emails, then we’ll see about throwing away the key.