I spent the night alone for the first time in well over a year.
A stretch of time with months of physical companionship after months of the haunting haze created by an empty space. A space the size of the continent between two sleeping souls.
I try to find a way to rest my beating heart, to still the adrenaline running through my veins. I lay my body down at the liberty of a blazing moon, unfamiliar with this bed and all this space within it.
Eventually, a clear thought enters my mind. It comes, as important ones tend to, via my heart. Because I can feel it beating. I listen to the sound it makes and the way it tells me “I’m okay”. And suddenly sleep is possible.
Sleep until She rises fully, lighting the entire night sky and I wake for a brief and confused moment. The details of a dream fade and I’m left with only the image of a house I know is mine, rolling into the ocean. Yet that simple thought remains: “I’m okay”.
I awake again just before dawn, not far enough from the alarm to fall back into dreams.
New ones now:
Sweeping the floor of a store I’ve just started working at. Cleaning out. Starting fresh.
I rise and prepare myself for the day, slipping quietly out of the almost-silent house, sensitive to my new, temporary housemates.
Forgoing the still snow-covered sidewalk, I take tentative strides down the side of the road. With difficulty, my eyes search for footholds among the ice through their blurry wet. There are few cars at this early hour. The walk is longer than usual, from a different starting point I’m so grateful to have, and lengthened by my hesitating steps. I arrive with little time to set-up.
Transitions. It isn’t difficult to theme this class.
We stand in Mountain asking questions embedded into my bones: “Where am I?” We move through Sun Salutations taking note of the transitions between each asana. My voice cues to follow the breath as it moves in and out of the body, and I let it fill me entirely and let small tears release along with it.
Back in Mountain asking “What is being revealed” I am compelled enough by my own body’s response I write it down, too: “I am so strong”. I need this moment to show me what I already know.
The last student leaves. I try to eat the snacks I’ve brought, and head back toward my new cocoon. The split second where my mind wants to stop at the post office and bring home the mail that wouldn’t be for me anyway. Then, in a series of kaleidoscopic images and feelings, I ache for all the familiar things that have now changed.
I walk back along the water and, at a break in the buildings, ease down an icy path to look out over the harbor. I gaze over the depths of this ocean. The sight of pieces of ice, pressing forward with each tugging wave, still manages to surprise me. As if the ocean is to respond to my request of being the way I want it to be, warm and smooth. Life isn’t like that. Sometimes it’s chunky and cold, yet held within this living mass of wet.
A loud commotion. An airy noise. An eagle flies over me, over the harbor, leaving the branch it had inhabited right above my head.
I watch it fly majestically over the heaving water and my heart feels its freedom.
My heart feels full of gratitude for the opportunity to love so fiercely.
My heart feels strong—aching and strong—and tells me that I am going to be okay.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photos: elephant archives and via Cyrus Merlin Scofield