The Middle Of Everywhere
Early spring in the southernmost part of Appalachia, yes, that’s when and where it must have happened. Before the great roiling mass of gods green chaos had yet to truly heave itself upon the land. It was just a short hike, a couple of miles meant to clear the mind. This was land that had once been inhabited, rail spikes still littering the forest floor. That was over a century ago and now it was owned by the State. The only marks left behind, save for the occasional stacked stone wall and a hand hewn quarry overrun with poison ivy, were the wagon trails and railroad beds that crisscrossed the Oak, Pine, and Hickory hills I now rolled along.
It hits me as I near the crest of an ancient, time worn mountain spine. That half of a cannabis cracker I ate an hour before has finally caught up to me. Sit! Now! It commands. I sit. Like the million bodhisattvas that have come before me I sit. Anxiety, racing through this body as senses respond to what they can only decipher as a threat. Listen to your…feel your heart, for christssake! Oh shit! It’s beating too fast! Hearts that beat that fast explode and when you’re heart explodes you fucking die! Alone in the woods not but two miles from this little redneck town and this is where they’ll find you! Dead. Silence. You breathe in. Slow, full, life affirming breathes. The anxiety dissipates, evaporates into the quietly fading daylight. You breathe out. From your stupa you observe the subtle hues of dusk, you watch how the trunks of trees allow the waxing darkness cloak them in a beguiling uniformity. Dogwood blooms, glowing white in remembrance of winters passing, remain lit as the flora descends into night.