Monday, November 16, 2009

missing the forest

Thu, September 11, 2008
It is dawn. The stars are out, not diluted at all by even a hint of the sun that is to come. The moon has long since set, hiding her face from me as absolutely as could be imagined. The air has acquired a chill in the last week or two... I feel this keenly as I walk briskly, warming up for my run.

Because, you see, I can't stop.

I began running as a way to connect with joy to the Wood I lived near in Massachusetts. It was an amazing way to weave the magic of that tiny plot of forest in and around my heart and soul. There were stories there, stories I coaxed out with every bounding stride, breath puffing in and out as I charged up and down tree lined hills, on paths softened by pine needles and loam. I felt free, alive and wild; my mind was loose and comfortable, sensing Stag Kings, wolves and imaginary steeds with every single run I had there.

Still I run. I run to keep my stamina, to keep my sanity in this sprawling confusion of urbanity thrust upon a rural people. There is no magic here, where I am able to run. In the early morning, before dawn even arrives, I run on the barren edges of the road, with only weeds to show the spirit of Mother Nature where she wishes to remain untamed. There is no Wood. No forest, no nurturing place of magic in the trees. Each day I run, I feel the burden of it as if it is forced upon me, another chore; this saddens me, that something so joyful could become this way in my heart. There are no stories when I run. Only me, and the dawn, and the cars- trying to survive long enough to make it home before the sun even stains the sky.

I did not realize quite how much that forest sustained my spirit until I no longer had it to run amok in. It may not have been very vast, or even very remote; but believe me, there was magic there- magic that spawned all the stories I have written here over the last few years. Here, things are not so. There are many planned 'communities'- sprawling villages of apartments and condos, rich looking homes lording over what was once farm or pasture land. The trees that there are, are planted according to someone's drawing. They stand stately and lovely in a very sterile way.

Luckily, there are the Metro Parks. I have discovered a few that boast some forest, forest that even retains a bit of wildness to it. However, it is not the same. I run there on weekends to remind myself of the wild joy I had when I began this habit- this habit of trail running... but there is still no room for stories and magic, as I compete for space among walking couples, other joggers, dogs and children who all seek to savor a bit of wildness that is so lacking here.

The only comfort I retain is that I may ride my pony when I am able. This brings me a great measure of peace. We have recently had to move, however; from a place that sported many wildflower fields to one of a place of rules, where horses may only be ridden in a proper ring, with one attired properly in a helmet and so forth. He is there, earning his keep as I could no longer afford to pay to keep him in the comforting chaos of where he was. While I do believe this will be good for him- think of it! LIttle girls riding him over jumps, which he loves, and even the prospect of seeing him go to some shows next spring! It is not nearly as magical for me, being bereft of fields of wildflowers to romp in, where I could once again capture strands of stories and keep it from feeling like work.

Ah, well. These are the sacrifices we make. These are the sacrifices I have made in order to become the doctor I imagine myself to be. I came here knowing it would not be nourishing for my spirit, but that it would bolster my confidence and make me an amazing veterinarian. I am learning so much I am fairly bursting with it. But! I am lonely... I miss my friends, my goddess sisters, my forest, and my boyfriend. I miss what I have not even had in the four years of vet school- that easy companionship and friendship where one can just drop by and hang out. Someday, someday! For now my life is one of on call every other day, lots of work and learning until I feel my head will pop. Challenges to my wit, my character, my knowledge and courage; I take it all in stride. Still. It is hard to do all this without the pleasure of fine company, without the lovely every day life that so many of my friends take for granted. One day! One day I too will have that back. For now, the kitties and I snuggle with wine, books and movies, and I find all the ways I can eat chocolate and remain healthy. Cheers.

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