The Deck Without Stairs

The deck my grandfather built is still standing, weathered and shaky, but withstanding despite all the yelling and the laughing and the thunderstorms that have rolled over top of it. The trees that he used to build it started before me and will end after me and for just these 23 years we are crossing. Because really, what is 23 years to a bunch of trees and to the deck that they got nailed into? It’s all so insignificant that it’s overwhelming and yet the world that’s going on inside my thoughts feels endless and whole and complete. The duality of living with a purpose and also deeply knowing that eventually nothing matters is too big. Too scary and beautiful. The deepest sadness and the most liberating freedom.

When the wind blows through the maple tree that my dad planted as a kid and the sunset glows behind the pine trees his sisters grew from babies I feel frozen in the warm sun that’s calming down the poison ivy on my legs. There’s a life here that has kept on going even though I’ve been absent. There’s a history that I’m a part of but that doesn’t seem to need me to be here to exist. Nothing has changed and yet I feel so deeply different. How can I walk around this house and this yard and this town and know every last inch of it this intimately but at the same time feel like I no longer have any ownership. The bedroom I grew up in is almost exactly the same and yet I feel like a guest because the things inside it aren’t mine anymore. Earth shattering dissonance.

In my mind, I’m in the middle of an endless and solo adventure. People come and go, changing what I know and how I understand, but when I’m alone and I close my eyes, the only character that’s getting written about is the myself that’s deep under the layers of faces I put on when someone else is around. Everything is infinitely significant and pressing, all the time. Anything could change everything and maybe I’d be the only one who knew about it because my everything is just wordless colors to anyone else.

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