In Pieces

I was in pieces. The broken shards of myself scattered here and there. Torn into bits by demanding claws, taking what they wanted for themselves. Outside of myself, looking inward. Seeing the carnage, feeling the pressure. Marrow sucked dry. Nothing left to give. Eggshell bones rattled in the dust. Escape whispered to me, touching my brow. I answered.

A shake and a whistle, and the shattered bits come running back to me. Clutching at the jagged little pieces for dear life, I gather my companion and head for the trail.

As we drive northward, the ugly, functional buildings soon give way to towering trees and dots of wildflowers that pepper the tall grass. Our special place waits for us. Calling our names. We listen, we obey. Unleashing ourselves, stepping forward into that first step. Aw, that first step. Exhaling. Inhaling. The tightness in my chest loosening with each breath. My lungs fully expanding again. The sharp blue-green perfume of the evergreens reaches my nose. My companion’s nose is to the ground, taking it all in. Tail wagging.

Feet sink into the rich, dark earth and toes burrow into the plush grass. A carpet of summer cushioning our steps. The chaotic jungle buzzing within my head begins to shift, slowly, to what lies before me. Smoothing out the wrinkles in my frazzled mind. Sandals exchanged for hiking boots, we begin. Seeking out the dusty little trail under the deep verdant canopy of the familiar oaks and pines, woven with sweet honeysuckle, that will lead me back to myself. One quiet footstep at a time, as the music of the finches and sparrows cheer me on. The red-bellied woodpecker drumming along. Tapping out a pace.  The song of the forest flows through my veins, sustaining me as surely as oxygen. My cathedral of renewal.  Once again, my spirit made whole.

T. Liptak

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