The morning after, we threw a few bags together and trucked up the Blue Ridge Mountains to an empty cabin. The leaves were dying, which is when I find them most beautiful. There's probably an interesting metaphor to be pulled from that. If you think of a good one, let me know.
The wind was waspish and unmerciful.
When we arrived, I made a little space in the corner by a big window. Outside of this window stood an electrifying Japanese Maple. The leaves were tangerine and pomegranate. I laid a soft, white blanket down and scattered my books around my sitting space in a little half-circle. I probably had 15 books with me, which isn't uncommon. Security blankets. Worlds to escape to. Worlds to bring me back.
After dinner, the fury of my pen was unhinged. I did not stop writing for several days except to make use of the clawfoot bathtub or to simmer steel cut oats with butter and brown sugar.
The pages were my sanctuaries. In them, I wrote strange things. Morbid things like, "I want to dig up the dead tissue from the earth and shove it back up inside of my body so my baby can be safe and healthy and start to grow again."
I understood the biological impossibility of this desire. But I desired it.
I know how grotesque it was, but so is everything to do with death.
Sometimes, I was afraid I'd really try it.
I wrote about my anger at whatever or whoever. In this world of chaos and magic, it's hard to know who to blame for the bad things anymore. Maybe no one. Maybe everyone. But my anger needed a target, so I chose Death. Death. Indiscriminating Death who comes for the pure and the tarnished; who comes for us all, and sometimes all too soon.
So I've been thinking about Death; being very angry, and being very thankful. Angry because death is not polite. Death did not ask me if he could have my child. Death did not wait for me to come home from Thailand before he took my grandfather. Death does not wait for permission. He just arrives, unannounced, like that rotten old Uncle you never invite, but somehow always knows where and when the family is gathering.
Thankful because with death, comes life. It is a cycle. Life, Death, Life. Sit in a quiet place surrounded by the natural world long enough, and you'll see. Winter always comes. Spring always follows.
The last day, the wind was wrathful. By the end of the afternoon, the Japanese Maple I'd admired all week was stripped bare. It quivered with me. Death had come and now it was time to endure.
I walked outside, barefoot, wind whipping my hair back, and collected the leaves. Handfuls of tangerine and pomegranate. Handfuls of death.