Out by the Cedar

Sat out by the cedar, lines run along her bark like stretch marks, they seem to be a test of time. She leaned over and said everything’s gonna be just fine, stop trying to live up to good enough, chasing shadows. I know. I know, years ago it was only your burden, now it’s his too. I can’t help it! I said, I’m a child of the eighties, molded by Ray-gun’s greed! Waves of traffic on a distant shore, wrapped in green, shielded by her barrier canopy. Sat in silence, she listened as I tried to repair all those words. Time slowed, until, eventually, it had no meaning. Followed a line of red ants up those stretch marks until we reached a knot, as big as my face, where they seemed to disappear. I felt around the edge, it was warm and soft, like a sea urchin’s belly. So I did what any man would do and leaned my face in. It was dark, but warm, I hadn’t even gotten half way in when I pulled out again. Scared, but craving more, I reached with my hand and tugged on the outer rim, she stretched enough to fit my arm in, then my face and suddenly I was pulling myself inside her, her womb. Was it I that was pulling or she pulling me? perhaps we worked together, until I had no body, or face or any physical characteristics, I was her and she was me and I looked into her heartwood. Kaleidoscopic shades of red filled my vision, a unifying warmth enveloped me and She said: old habits change slowly, with patience, attention and understanding. All you have to do is support him. And when she said him I thought of his face and the pang of despair rippled through my heart, and hers, and we shared the lonely hollowness of fatherhood, knowing that anything we do won’t be good enough, and is bound to make a scar.  All the world is conditions, and of conditions there are supporting and unsupporting, choose to be the supporting condition for growth. Then our consciousness expanded; all life is expanding, changing, looking for answers to questions that generate growth. We looked out over the horizon, we were the horizon, and everything we saw was also us, and the warmth radiated over everything. Then I was birthed to the ground in a thump, covered in sap, and bark and red ants. My son stood there, in the dark, cold, wind-swept rain, astonished and he said, da-ad, are you OK? I couldn’t help it, I began to cry. He said something to me and put his hand on my shoulder, and I couldn’t hear him as I looked up her skirt at the knot where I was birthed had disappeared, and I said, not now son, she’s gonna come back to talk to me again. And I cried again. Seeing the repeating, though unable to move, until eventually he went away. Days and nights, months and years have since passed and I still sit at her base, like stone, waiting for her return.

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