Two months ago I swung on a porch swing in the 70 degree, crispy California morning air. I took deep, sultry breaths. I smiled toward the busy hummingbird, who smiled back in his own way. I breathed a certain goodbye. Not that I’d never be back, but never back to that particular town as it was in that particular moment. All that had grown familiar… normal… to us, would soon be different. Southern California glimmered in a way I’d never seen in those last few days, as though it too was uttered to us its own, “until next time.”
Now I anywhere I sit I find myself engulfed in new, foreign, unfamiliar, and abnormal. Where I am now is much, much different than where I was then. Here, dust doesn’t seem to settle, rain hits pavement at unbelievable speeds, and birds chirp in strange octaves. Everything is different and when I open my eyes each day, I’m greeted with odd minglings of confusion and contentment, certainty and fear. My heart and mind are trying to process, I think, as if they’re their own entities with their own agendas. Their hardwiring is a touch out of whack and they don’t know what to feel, what to think.
In my grappling for words to match these paradoxical emotions, I often find myself tripping over unevenly cobbled pavement and falling onto the realization of the enormity of this world. Here on the other side there are people who live, think, eat, breathe, speak, and relate completely contrary to me. Sometimes, as the bigness of it all caves in and towers over me, I find I’m overwhelmed and claustrophobically gasping for air.
So I come up for air. Most housing complexes here have rooftop access, ours included. I go there often when I need a breath, or a chance to see it all from above it all without being in the midst of it all. I rest against the rail and get back to that breathing space. Up here from this perspective, I can see glory instead of confusion, purpose instead of chaos. I see a beautyworthy of wow and wonder. I see the vastness of the earth in wild shades of green. I see vibrant color sprinkled along soaring mountains and rolling hills, where people walk and work and love and seek. And I’m just one among the millions. With newfound breath I can sing over this place, take it all in and rest into those unfound words and unkempt emotions, trusting that the dust does and will settle.