Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Zero Day

There's a feeling I get when I finish a book. I close the cover, look up from the world I hold in my hands, and look around at the world that's continued to exist without me. I take a slow breath, and with it, comes the gradual reacclimation to reality. My body absorbs my surroundings with every intake of air, like the way heat spreads up the arm and through the body when one grasps a warm stone.

There's a feeling I get when I surface from a cold ocean. At first I may have hesitated to dive in, my body trembling at the chill and wondering if I would ever adjust to the temperature. Once I'm underwater, my hair moving with the current and weightlessness settling into my bones, I forget that I'd ever felt trepidation. Once I emerge, even if the day is warm, my body doesn't want to leave the water. Liquid has become my air, my skin cannot tolerate the lightness of atmosphere. But as the chill evaporates, I remember the surface and know I need gravity as much as I need bouyancy.

There's a feeling I get when a song ends. There's a silence that kept on existing, waiting for me to return. Music cannot exist without silence, and I hold both ends of this spectrum, balancing the vibrance of color in sound. The notes fade, and they ring in my mind, so much more powerful for the context of quiet.

I have been a therapist, a friend, a teacher, a supporter, a challenger, a child, a hand to hold while walking down a dark path, a mirror, a voice of belief and love in a community where kindness is an anomaly. I have to close this book in order for me to hike the trail. I am still all of those things. But last Thursday was my last page of this particular book, my last feeling of the currents in this ocean, my last lingering note of this song. 

A book continues to exist on the shelf, the tides rise and fall, and new music is always being drawn into the world. We can continue to live, better for being part of each other, empowered and thriving on our own now that we are apart. 

On the Appalachian Trail there is a type of day called a Zero Day. This is a day when you do not hike, because you need the stillness. Sometimes we all need a Zero Day, to be able to look at the map and see how far we've come, and to be able to feel the power of the miles that stretch ahead of us. To be able to accept that there are adventures that wait for us, and we are all the better for not knowing exactly what might happen- but to know that it will all be worth it.

Every moment.

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