2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
inside of me, threatening the life they belong to…
Anna Nalick, “2 AM”
I stand in the threshold of the back door, watching Riley as he wanders the yard, the storm door separating me from him, me from the outside world.
It’s everything else.
Suddenly I want to grab a blanket from the hall closet and wrap it around my shoulders as I sit on the porch steps, escaping the chill but being a part of the world, being a part of something. I want to listen to the birds settling, to the pots and pans clanging in my neighbors’ kitchens as they ready their dinner, to the hum of a car as it passes by, the tires crawling over loose pebbles in the road.
I want to close my eyes and breathe deep the crisp autumn air that fills the lungs with life, reminding you that one breath at a time is all it takes, all it takes…
I want to welcome the moment — just one moment when I’m not aware of a ticking clock, not wondering what comes next and what’s after that and what happens then, not worrying about everything I have left to accomplish and what more there is to do and that I have to hurry, hurry, hurry because every moment matters.
And the next.
The birds will still be flapping their wings as they settle onto the thin branches of the hedge, Riley will still wander the yard, sniffing out every square inch of grass, and cars will pause at the stop sign before moving on, their headlights sweeping across the landscape as they make a turn.
I want to rest my head against the side of the house, wrapping the blanket tighter around my shoulders as I draw my knees up and drink it all in:
Everything is still. Everywhere is comfort.
Everything is perfect.
I want to be able to savor the solitude and welcome the company of the world around me, finding strength in the silence that isn’t-really-so-silent and assurance that I’m never alone no matter how hard I push away, no matter how much I retreat, no matter how well I hide beneath a self-proclaimed label of autonomy and nonchalance.
No matter how much I don’t want to.
I want to show the world my passion for it, for this life, for love in all of its definitions, to remark on the beauty that lingers with the last bits of daylight and marvel at its return in the morning, to believe in kindness and generosity and shout it out loud that we all have a chance and here it is, here is our chance now.
Now the next.
I want to open my eyes and search the skies, to study the stars and understand how small and insignificant everything feels in comparison to something so bright and, truly, so timeless. I want it to take my breath away, to feel my heart skip as I imagine the vast speckling of stars lighting up the darkness, beacons to guide you when you’ve lost all direction, something to remind you that you’re never so lost that you can’t be found, so close for being so far away.
I want to feel connected to something, to something bigger and greater than myself, to something that’s greater than any one of us could ever be. I want to understand — to really and truly understand — and study and observe and learn by experience and feel, oh, to feel so deeply, as you uncover that meaning, that purpose, that one question that only living can answer.
I stand in the threshold of the back door, waiting for Riley as the storm door separates that outside world from my own. I want to find a blanket and wrap it around my shoulders as I step outside to search the skies, but the stars are hidden by clouds tonight.
And while I may hear the settling of the birds as I open the door to let Riley in, I know that I won’t feel so settled. I don’t know how to quiet my mind, to stop asking questions, always wondering about their answers, to cease reminiscing on the past and longing for what is lost while looking forward to the future and all there is to gain, to ignore the passion that builds and grows inside of me until I want to explode in exclamations of beauty and awe and wonderment, like a thousand butterflies awakening in the spring.
I don’t know how to find peace in the moment. I don’t know how to still the rapid beating of my heart.
I don’t know how to articulate the depth of everything that I’m thinking, all that I’m feeling, or even begin to piece together what it all might mean.
It’s everything else.