It Won’t Be Like This for Long

She walks along an uneven, eroding road, eyes narrowed, mind relatively absent, heart honeycombed with loss and the enduring of uncertainty, pain, and unshed tears. Here and there the trees sway to a music she can’t hear. The fog has come again. It comes when she has stored too many false hopes with the dreams she carries: wishes that reality were different than it seems, that what is happening would not be true.

She has tied up her hair and now it loosens as she walks down the path from which the sun is quickly evaporating. Clouds billow in but they are too far off to see, so she worries what shape they will take and whether she’ll still be on the road when they arrive. She will get off the road if the messages they bear prove to be too unfavorable.

The river to her left sings of joy too inharmonious with her thoughts to take seriously. Far ahead a bird cries too loudly. If she had worn shoes, they would have squelched in the mud on the road, but for now she is as silent as the wind.

Silent, for speech eludes her, for song fails her. The silence in herself echoes the silence outside herself, until she is swallowed by it, wrapped tightly in it, a swaddled child of the smothering silence. She feels cradled by the hands of voicelessness until it lulls her into unsettled inaction. Through that indecision she wanders, the hills on the road nothing to her, the touch of the breeze almost not registered. She bends once to pick up a stone, as alone as her heart, and wonders at finding her way through relationships that, like the cliffs far to the west, crumble so imperceptibly into sand until, abruptly, they avalanche into ruin, taking with them everyone all of a sudden.

Trying to reforge the hillsides of her landscape with scarce reinforcements may or may not have salvaged the whole of the puzzle in which was carved a place for each piece of the once vast vertical stretch of stone. The puzzle rearranges itself without her, appearing crooked and baring just beneath the surface the scars consequent of her leaving.

Solemn now, the clouds come, mirroring her grey blue eyes. She should not be here. Her designated normal place is not with the river and the song of the sun bird and the wisps of searching fog, and for a second, she almost forgets why she ever strayed beyond where she was expected to go. But then the why of it is all too easy to recall. Truth telling, especially softly weaving into the world the truth of her self, is a hard won right she should have known she did not possess. Precarious now, much of what her family has worked for, seeded so carefully, and absent is the peace between them, that had never really been there, but which they liked to say they shared.

It was her lack of silence which crippled her happiness and thwarted her dream to belong. This is what they told her, and sometimes, like now, she still feels this way. But she wonders in some small part of her being what belonging means, and whether she is walking away from never belonging just to walk toward it at last. Can a person belong where she cannot be herself?

It was striving to face the fear of breaking the fragile unspoken and specious borders around what no one wished to face that brought her here, alone and to this road, and far from what she knows. Now the silence beckons with its’ eerie siren’s call: “slip into the shelter of sonorous slumber, where are you going you young hapless wanderer?” But it is not the place of the silence to question her with who she thinks she is. The answer to this cannot be determined in silence, and this as much she knows. In anger now she shouts at the silence to leave her alone–the last of her supposed company who she’d rather be without.

She senses the twilight twinkling at her as she makes for the night a place to stop and reflect on the unknown of the future. To her, now, the morning later, time crawls as she still decides on nothing. She tells herself she will survive. She is thirsting and terribly hungry for wholesome life, one that matches her aspirations, her dreams, her way of being, the light pulsing through her reflecting shapes she was too often forbidden to share. She is tired of carefully stepping around what is, just to please other people and their strange desire to continue in their illusions, as if there is safety in what they want to believe when that was never so.

Onward, and many days to come, the journey might take her from the life she had which ceased making sense to the life she dares to achieve. What if she is not enough? What if she is not prepared? What if all along they were right and it was only she who lived by illusions as they suspected? Doubt makes the fog grow thicker, but what of it? The thing is done.

She is here, and every step she takes challenges the doubt boiling dangerously. It churns in her stomach as if she contained in herself a pit of earth out of which heavy emotions could spring, doubt, and molten fear, and she will not let it spill over the edges. It is enough, she knows, to scald what is left of a person’s worth.

. Instead she imagines the sea of life within her, and she the selkie, who has finally found her skin. She may not know how to swim yet, and there is always lack of confidence, but she cannot go back now.

Besides, she reasons, she is really not alone. The living stones and water and sky breathe with her, sing to her. Even the blazing fire of the sun walks the sky without like companionship, comforted only by it’s radiant light, no one to speak to, intrepidly traversing up and up the path that winds through the mountain of the stars, no knowledge in the moment that a resting place awaits at the other side. She smiles up at the sun then, willing that it recognize with her that they, sun and girl, have a similar journey ahead.

Perhaps their hearts long for the same freedom, perhaps they both rely on nothing but their light, glowing from within. Perhaps peace is around the bend somewhere up there past the day and it’s encroaching fog. She can’t see the peace or the sun through the fog, but she decides both are there. She walks on toward her dream, every moment carrying her closer and closer to a genuine home. She is that much closer to being sheltered in the truth of herself: the truth she listened to, that called her to change.

These realizations seep slowly into her frozen mind as she stares into the pool in the river, re-braids her hair, crinkles the corners of her eyes, wipes mist from her forehead with a tiny hand, then takes stalk of her few belongings. There is not much, but she has lived this long on her own. Quickly, she grasps the leafy hand of a nearby tree, a standing person, and brushes the dirt from her clothes. She is off again, hope rekindled like tiny suns in her ever watchful eyes.

***

Things change despite us and our hopes. Things fall away, like the cliffs and the tide, and the song of the sun bird, and the cycles of twilight and dawn. Things you thought you were, no longer make sense. Things you thought you belong to fade or falter, or break apart in a vehement frenzy that surprises all. Things you thought would serve you you no longer need. Things you know now you need must be sought elsewhere. It won’t be like this for long. If you hold on, more of the pieces will fall into place, change can be sharp and demanding but in the place of all that wanting to be true is the real you, the one who emerges carved through the difficult moments you face. Let yourself shine in all those myriad of shapes you never gave yourself permission to share. And though sometimes you can’t see through the fog, know you still are not alone. All of us, myself and the others, we are here.

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13 thoughts on “It Won’t Be Like This for Long

  1. Ah, Éilis – you make me glad I am no longer young. I should hate to have to go through all that again …
    Now it is buried under decades.

    1. Fair enough. 🙂 It’s not easy, especially at the moment. Just wading through a lot of gnarly stuff with hopefully a better outcome that I can’t anticipate. Though oddly I am thankful I got to grow up before facing all this. That was not true for the person who’s story I was telling. But we all make it through, I am encouraged by that. Is it really true that some kinds of life challenges fall away once you are older, or is it just that you know then how to handle them? I suspect the latter but would really be interested in your perspective.

      1. I honestly don’t know. All I can tell you from the perspective of my 71½ years is that they don’t seem to be here any more. And that could be for as simple a reason as being entirely alone, without need of working on any friendships or relationships …

  2. Hi Éilis. Is this an old piece? I was just wondering, because it seems so at odds with where I thought you were in your journey. Unless you have had some kind of setback. I hope not. Hope all is well.

    1. Hi Ali, I just wrote this today. Actually, up until the *s this is Ailbhe’s story from when she was nine, which she let me see. I’ve been dealing with some pretty nasty social drama and questions about what is and isn’t serving me, and whether it’s time to move on from the situation. Part of the issue it seems is that some people involved didn’t want to face the truth of what is going on and I pointed it out anyway. That never makes people happy! 🙂 Anyway it is fascinating while writing what I saw in Ailbhe’s story to see parallels with my own, I am sure this is one reason she shared it with me. I want to do what’s needed but that hasn’t been at all easy and so far there is more uncertainty than resolution. I am trying to stay centered regardless. Emphasis on trying and so grateful to not be at dealing with it alone. 🙂

      1. Oh and amusingly I was inspired with the title while listening to a country song earlier this morning, that particular line stood out from the other lyrics and got my attention. 🙂

      2. Ok that begs lots of questions but this is not the place. Glad you’re ok. You can never please everyone… I imagine that applies just as much in the otherworld as here lol!

      3. I’m okay. 🙂 The stuff I’m dealing with is in this world with manifest people, Ali, and Ailbhe thought to help me out with it by sharing with me a story from her past. It was really helpful actually in making me feel less alone. I can explain later!

      4. I suppose you can’t “please”–see eye to eye with? Equally personally relate to?–everyone in the otherworld, but they’re beyond wanting that. That’s a small self thing, both the wanting to make people happy and expecting a person to make you happy. That makes sense in a world where there is conditional love, judgment, ego, fear, a sense of scarcity, personas that mask true natures of people, dishonesty. This would not happen in the otherworld. Most people and everyone the two of us know in the otherworld live in the light, where there is honesty, acceptance, an infinite energy for everyone because the light is everywhere and in all things there is no scarcity, peacefulness, transparency (no pun intended) and unconditional love. Such love cannot ask of a person to be other than who they already are.

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