Sunday, April 24, 2005

You can run, but you cannot hide...

...for long. Eventually life and your choices catch up with you.

Spring is a time of rejoicing. The earth is blossoming again, bringing with it a promise of life. It is a time to plant the seeds that will become the harvest to sustain us through the year and into the darkness of winter.

During my last few weeks in my mountain aerie I see the evidence that spring is coming. Pale furred vixens trot along the road with squirrels and mice between their jaws, taking nourishment back to the den to feed their hungry kits. Does and cows feed on soft green shoots alongside the roads, undisturbed by my clanking progress up and down the hill. Yesterday I stopped to watch as they grazed undisturbed, unconcerned by my scent and appearance, even welcoming my presence, daring to come closer when I call and speak to them. We have shared this land for two years now and they know they are safe from me and that I leave them food and salt and water during the lean times. Harems pass through my yard almost daily now and squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, pine martens, raccoons and birds greet me from their hiding places, edging out of the shadows and into the light anxious for whatever scraps and food I leave out for them.

Everywhere I look I see fulfillment of life's promises, everywhere but among my friends. They still hide in the shadows even when a friendly face beckons them closer and holds out a helping hand.

So many people I know and care about have failed to get the message. People are not mind readers (except for a few here and there) and they do not know what we will not and do not tell them. Instead they suffer in silence while poison grows in their hearts and withers their souls. They are like unplanted seeds, full of potential but sterile and untouched by all they need to allow them to grow. They choose darkness, shadows, doubt and fear for their nourishment and wonder why they are unhappy. They run from the calling of their heart and soul, following some mistaken belief that if they suffer they honor life and love. They're wrong.

We all make mistakes, but that does not mean we must pay for our mistakes for the rest of our lives. Even murderers and thieves are allowed to serve their sentence and eventually move back into the world. But so many people believe that they are bound by duty or honor or social expectations to pay with their lives without pardon, without reprieve, without parole. They run from themselves and their heart's desire, hiding in the shadows away from the light. After all, they deserve to be unhappy; they deserve to be punished; they deserve to be alone. And so they hold tight to the seeds they need to plant in order to harvest life's fruits and wonder why nothing ever grows.

Even as they hide from themselves and all that makes life worth living, they lie to themselves and all around them that this is what they want. Like shiny black beetles they hide from the light unaware that living in the shadows bleaches them, rendering them blind and white as an albino. When they emerge from the darkness into the light their mistake is obvious. Even so those who choose to hide from the calling of heart and soul are marked. Nothing gives them any joy, except for fleeting glimpses of a smile or a laugh, but the smiles are merely stretching lips over the teeth and the laughter has a hollow ring.

We are so afraid if we open our hearts we will be rejected, and that is a possibility, but life is always a risk from the first searing breath as we emerge from the dark warmth of the womb into the glaring light of a cold empty world, and yet we breath and breath again and keep breathing until we no longer think about it. We totter to our knees to crawl, pull ourselves up from the ground to wobble and fall as we learn to walk, and skin our knees and elbows and face as we take our first running steps, but we keep going. When do we lose the desire to push on, to keep going despite the pain and scrapes and disappointments of our first attempts to move into the world and take our place among the rest of humanity?

The older we get, the warier we become, afraid to run the risk of falling and skinning our pride. We mortgage the present for a future that is not guaranteed and may never come, hoarding our hearts and our love like Midas hoarded gold until all we touch is tainted by fear and completely inedible, unable to nourish us, and so we wither and die like fruit on the vine during a drought. The fruit holds no moisture to sustain life and the hard pit tastes bitter, sucking the last bit of moisture from us. But we still believe that no one notices the hard dried fruit of our lives because we dress well, have lots of nice things, travel, eat well, drink well, and look successful. We run away from ourselves, unable to face ourselves in the mirror because it mocks us with the truth, so we stop looking in the mirror or see the mask behind which hides the soulless vampire who casts no reflection.

We run away from life, from love, from our heart's desire, offering our souls like a martyr's sacrifice on the altar of life, sure we are doing the right thing. We ask for truth and offer nothing but lies and dishonesty. We teach our children that appearances are what matter and that life is an empty desert where mirages are the only reality.

Spring is the promise of a fruitful harvest, but only when we give the seed to the earth.

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