I long to be outside. Not anywhere particular, just out, in the sun, feeling the breeze, hearing the animals, and all similar such stuff. There is a major problem here though.
I haven't spent aimless time outside since I was a little girl, and I can honestly say that I don't know how to do it.
Up til now, I was satisfied with being indoors constantly, with the fluorescent lighting and recycled air and yucky radiation coming from appliances (yep, you guessed it – hairdryers too) and chemicals from household products, personal products, and everything between. I had no clue any of this was around. Since I can remember, I've been bombarded by all these things (I won't even go into the constant harmful noise that's there, just beyond your attention) until now after years of the constants of that environment, I'm completely unaware of them. Well, not completely, not anymore. Now I'm aware. But I'm still afraid to go out.
Yes, afraid. I think that's a good word to describe the feeling I have. The trepidation about bugs, about winds that are too strong, about people looking at me strangely if I make a spot in the yard my own by sitting there for too long (what is she doing?). About grass stains on my clothes. Heck, after the reading I've been doing, I'm even nervous about crushing grass stems when I sit or lie on them. Goodness knows that, technically, there's really not much point to a blanket – it just keeps grass from receiving life-giving light where the area your body would take up wouldn't cause that much damage as an entire blanket would, and as we all, who've ever picnicked know, they don't keep the bugs off anyway.
It's a silly thing, that going outside in Nature, where we all originated, would hold such anxiety and a multitude of preparational thoughts to just go and hang out. I'm sure that anyone who'd never stepped foot indoors, or who hadn't spent more than an hour or two indoors at any time in the past several years, may feel the same way. Certainly it would feel as if your life were being cut off, if you couldn't hear the “heartbeat” - all the rhythms and noises of your Mother, who you never actually leave (aka, the Earth, Gaia, whatev you wanna call it).
When I was little, I remember being outside most of the time. When it was warm enough to go out, it was too also often hot and boring to be indoors. You can't read books all the time, and besides, there are places you can go to escape out there.
When we lived on Carroll Street, in the two story white wooden house where rats and/or squirrels lived in the wall and would scratch, scratch, scratch a couple inches from our ears just beyond the wood paneling at night, there was a tree that I hung out with.
It was outside, to the left of our porch if you were looking at the house. The “driveway” was there, although we always parked out front anyway, so it was a quiet spot. Brush and other trees were growing between our property and the lumber yard next door, and right on the edge, next to the fence made by this flora, was the tree.
It had a knot where a branch had been cut off a long time ago, and which still oozed sap sometimes. In retrospect, I guess it didn't heal all that cleanly. I would climb up to a spot where the two main branches forked off of the trunk and sit for a long time, seeing the sun shine down between the leaves, feeling the breeze against my skin, and feeling so at home there. That, in fact, may have been a place that felt the most like a real home to me over the course of my entire childhood.
Years ago someone had put a chain around the trunk, maybe to keep a dog tied up – people did that a lot in the South. You never think about how sucky it must be for the dog, usually because they're mean and bark at you. You're just glad that they are chained there, and can't rip a chunk out of your leg. But I guess I'd be pretty ornery too if I had to stay three feet from the same spot all the time. Some people never unchained their dogs. Yuck.
Anyway, a chain had been put around the tree long ago and now, because the tree had grown, its bark buckled and strained around the chain which grew ever tighter as the tree grew ever larger. I'd pry at it with my fingers, trying to get it loose, unable to. I asked my Dad to help once, but he was too busy (he probably didn't have a tool that could cut through the thick chain or the thicker lock anyway – I should have asked more people, as some of my relatives were bound to have something that could help). I remember looking at that painful metal, cutting into the tree, and feeling so hopeless and helpless. I knew it hurt. As I type now, the emotion comes rushing back to me and I'm feeling still guilty, wondering what would happen if, the next time I'm in Virginia, I go up to that property with a big chain cutter – would anyone mind? Would they think I was a crazy person? Would it matter?
Anyway, I never got the chain off. And by the time we moved, I was getting more interested in inside, teenage girl things like makeup and lacy bras and hair spray. But now, I'd like to get outside again.
It seems I probably should have been doing that the whole time anyway. But now, going outside isn't natural at all anymore. I wonder whether it's better to start slow or just dive in. I wonder how many other people feel the way I do.
Two nights ago, during the full moon, Terry and I sat across from each other, discussing what we wanted. He asked me what I'd do if I could do whatever I wanted, money, convenience, things like that were no object. I said that I'd travel until I found land that spoke to me and build an Earthship and live there, like that, learning about the plants and the land and God, in that way, and that I'd eventually want to start a family there. He didn't know much of what to think of that. Neither did I. Where did that desire come from? But it feels right, and I know that it may be the next big stop. Or, it may not. I just have to wait and see. Until then, I'll wait for my little apple seed to grow (which I planted last night) and my sunflower too (same thing), in their indoor pots using outdoor soil and getting lots of encouraging whispers from me, and I'll go out when it's warm this afternoon and do some reading. I think that's as good a start as any.