culture shock

I walk the path to the river, the one I dug and lined with liriope, now overgrown from disuse for no one is here to tend  to these things. So much of me is in this place, my garden, animals, memories, years  spent cultivating this little life here on the banks of the Eno River. It’s been a long time.  Crying I stand before the goat shed, empty, all four having died the year before, I miss them still — in this world that I return to it is the only grief that touches me deeply. I continue down the hill, walking back into what feels like me. The air sweet, the earth fecund from the rain, drops of moisture clinging to leaves and blades of grass, the river runs, always runs, today the color of cheaply dispensed coffee.

Green, surrounded by the green I miss so much, embraces and stimulates me.  Bypassing my home, the gardens, tangled now in weeds, goatsbeard and monarda, heading for the river. It is here, this first place that I come to upon arrival, this space, me rushing back to me-the world changes us, I look back across the 18 months to a stranger it seems.  Afraid now for a while to return.  I have heard it said that  people travel worlds away to escape, that India is  mirror, wondering for so long now, was I running, hiding, escaping. I come to the river because it is what most comforts me.

How many times have I been comforted while pacing along her shores, sat in this old chair, slowly decaying, she holds on, like an old friend she sits empty waiting for my return.  I pass her by to gaze deeply into the river searching for my tears that fell and find only dancing sunlight remains, they are gone having ridden the current to the sea. Treading carefully along the bank looking for the fear that overcame me, it too is gone, far away.  This place is still me, a different me, still holds the memories, still comforts and embraces,  like an old dress slipped on, surprised that it still fits.

This is still my place, I have not lost the part of me that calls this home. Today there are no tears, no fears, this day there is only acceptance, as the breeze gently plays with me I let the past go.  Acceptance — today is about coming home to return home, to go back to what feeds my soul. Thoughts drift lazily over the years, the supply is endless, the truth of these things unknown. Closing my eyes, breathing deeply, inhaling the wind as it rises, as if God knew I would sit here today he came down and blew his breath upon me.

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