It’s like the end of a storm. An image of you peeking through the glass door, just to be sure that it’s really over. A hand extends into the eery unknown. Its pale goose-bumped limb behind it. Through humid windless cold it reaches, then signals an all clear as a hand grasps the paint-chipped door frame that reveals the "Big Top Red" hue underneath. A memory flashes. Painting with your father on a Saturday in April when you were 11, before the circus turned into a sideshow. A bare toe makes hesitant contact with damp unsettled soil. The roots from an old oak - whose branches stretch dangerously close overhead - have been surfacing for years, but they seem especially exposed lately. You were always barefoot, playing outside with your brothers and the neighborhood treehouse gang until the warts had to be frozen off by another one of your mother’s home-made potions. In perfect choreographed form, a thigh follows, then the other knock-kneed leg, unshaven and full of bruises from another night you don’t remember. The air is crisp but heavy, coupled with a fading charcoal sky. It hangs and haunts silent and melancholy - like the end of an anticipated performance wrapped after months of preparation - demanding inspiration or depression. Nothing in between these two opposing intensities exists. Doesn’t it though? You’ve been trapped in that abyss until this very moment. Caught in the pickle between passionate purpose and a vacuum of self-doubt, triggered by the world’s accomplishments that have swirled, taunted, and deafened your motivation. Like a cloaked knight descending from a sphere of darkness, the storm’s remnants embraces you with a sly grey kiss and your body begins to unravel and unfold, melting into the tantalizing fog that surrounds.
For a decade you’ve been staring out of that glass, bracing for shattered impact. You’ve imagined blood mixing with water and dirt as they relentlessly rush in from sideways rain, accompanied with hail and memories you abandoned somewhere in the depths of your wild mind. For some time, in spite of your own suffering, you've fought against the elements, but nothing of human capacity could ever keep you dry or wash away the pain that is now inked permanently into sore skin. The moment at which you release clenched fists, the cold washes over you and a wheezy, desperate inhale cuts through the air. Then it’s all over, leaving nothing but soaked walls and a life-dependent choice; to drown or to float to dry land. You have been floating ever since. But it’s felt like drowning most of the time, and you’ve never known the difference. Not until now. You take another careful breath, one that actually refills lungs with something clean instead of more suffocating sharpness. Tingles from your scalp to the depth of your chest awaken life that once existed in your soul. My soul. Yes, it remains. Eyes turn outward from the narcosis that has paralyzed for 10 years. Out here, in the vastness of the storm's end, what should feel empty and lifeless is the only thing that makes any sense. For the first time in a long time, flesh is hydrated by sun instead of rain. Finally, out here in this wilderness, lost memories hold less weight and inspiration abounds; a new season awaits, it is time.