Wildflowers, Green Box. PA State Gamelands 263. Linfield.
Trail Blazes, Ferns, Fungus. French Creek State Park, Warwick Township.
I want to say something about these images that is related to where I took them and the experiance that I had around making them. But this evening, warm and air thick with humidity, I am at a loss for these images, taken earlier this month on a day hike with A. and the dog. Not because they are somehow hard to talk about but because I am in a place that is neither focused nor engaged. Perpetually lost and staggering, grasping at ideas in order to figure out who I am and where I belong, I am both tired and frantic. There are times when I feel like I have something figured out and I am focused and intent and like I could do anything but right now, things aren’t coming together like I had planned and I am exhausted and frantic.
So, I stick to what I know and learning small things that improve my quality of life. I went to an open hive event at a local beekeeper’s house and learned some new stuff about bees. I started making my own yogurt and cultured butter. I am learning about roses. I tend my dishelved backyard. I read. I go to work. I do yoga. I swim. I sew. I stick to routine because I can’t see outside of my day to day tasks. I plod slowly along, without a plan, without a path to follow because I have no idea what it is I want or who I am or where I belong.
This might be okay, were I not 27. This might be okay, were I financially better off.
It’s not okay anymore and I have no idea what to do about it.
On the days that it is up to me to walk the dog, we go west, out of town on 724. Dog panting and whining in the back seat, windows down, air filling the car with the smells of spring, warm weather. Over rolling hills, the houses start to spread out, the population thins. The dog knows where we are, where we are going and he starts to whine when we make the right to cross the river. Tires crunch on gravel, scampering paws in dirt, silence broken by the crashing of canine into brush.
Here, it is me and the dog. A quarter of a mile into the public hunting lands and the sounds transition from the rush of cars to the soft rustle of leaves, crops bowing in the breeze. He is running, jumping and crashing through the landscape, giddy while flushing the birds from their perches in trees and on the ground; you can see solid lines of birds fly away from him. In the worn work boots I bought ages ago on a midnight trip to Walmart, I walk with my shoulders back and look around, noting the subtle changes to the familiar landscape.
While I have a four-legged friend to accompany me, I am without human company and as a woman, this is remarkable. Ever present in our culture is the notion that women should not walk alone, not in secluded places where no one can find them if “something” were to happen. I do it at least twice a week, now that my day to day life has shifted into something new. I place one foot in front of the other, enjoying the landscape and my place in it. These few squares miles of land offer me intimacy, solitude, peace. I am clued into the subtle cycles of the planet, the weather, the seasons.