A Girl Walking Backwards

I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve fallen into the habit of questioning everything.  My thoughts are more akin to an interrogation in one of those white cinderblock rooms than to a quiet investigation of thoughts, feelings, and ideas on a plush couch with a cup of tea.  I just don’t think anyone wants to read a blog full of unanswered questions.  I’m sure you have plenty of those in your own brain.  You don’t need mine.

Yesterday was an incredibly windy day.  I’ve always loved the wind.  When I was younger, I’d take a plastic grocery bag and type a piece of string to it and wander around the yard during the gusts.  I’d name the bag and set it down in the middle of the yard and run to the road and close my eyes and count to fifteen and then open my eyes and chase after the bag.  Once, it got caught in a pine tree and wouldn’t come down no matter how much I asked.  That was the very first time that I felt betrayed. It would seem that being betrayed by a plastic bag is far easier than a human but I can still feel my seven year old’s heart pang and I’m not so sure there is much of a difference.

Yesterday was an incredibly windy day.  I grabbed my harmonica, a journal, a bible study, a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia in Spanish, and of course, a plastic bag.  I went outside and started running.  Very slowly.  I wanted to stop, I hadn’t meant to run, but I couldn’t stop.  I wanted to outpace the wind. I ended up in an emptyish field.  Here I stopped.  To my left was a path that I knew would lead me to the library.  Everytime I had reached this fork in the road before, I always went on the path that I knew.  I knew the path and I knew its destination.

Yesterday was not a day to take the normal path.  I went straight.  Then left.  Then straight. Then right.  Then I backtracked.  I caught a glimpse of a building and turned around and went in the opposite way.  I walked until finally I was lost.  I looked around and wasn’t sure which way was which.  There was no architecture to guide my way.  And I was very happy.  I walked over territory that I had never seen before, that I didn’t even know existed.  Everyonce in a while, the wind would startle me, make my heart jump.  At these times, and only these times, my thoughts fell silent as I surveyed the area for potential danger.  It took me a while to realize that the only thing that could harm me was myself.

Eventually, I heard a familiar tree creaking and realized that I had come full circle to the begginning.  I suppose that could have been the end of my windy afternoon adventure.

I ended up in civilization, emerging over a hill to see a small child standing in the library parking lot looking at me rather confused.  I ignored that.  I kept walking.  I didn’t stop.  I found a sidewalk.  This territory was annoyingly familiar.  I could see years of my footprints on the hard concrete.

So I faced the other way and kept walking.  I couldn’t tell where I was going, but I knew where I had been.  As I walked backwards, I could not see the snow patches before they rose up beneath my feet.  This small feeling of the unexpected excited me.  A car passed with girls inside of it, pointing and laughing at some oddity.  I suppose it was me.  This did not bother me.  I would laugh too if I saw a girl walking backwards.

Sometimes backwards is the only way I know how to walk.  Sometimes playing games with a plastic bag on a windy day is the only way I know to feel alive.  Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find yourself.

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