I dig my toes into the rocky incline. A skiff of gravel skitters down, tumbling endlessly, I cannot hear where it lands. The bottom is far below. Looking down, I can see clouds hovering underneath me. I am high enough that the place where I began isn’t visible, it hides beneath a cover of storm clouds, grey and swirling. Up here, as I pull myself further up, the sun shines upon my shoulders. The sky is a brilliant blue, with white cotton candy clouds. I keep climbing, distancing myself from the stormy ground below. I don’t know what the plateau above looks like, but I long for flat ground and stable footing. I reach up and grasp at a root emerging from the rock.
Suddenly, I am scrambling, rocks and dirt begin to funnel down around me, I slide, scraping my skin, dust grinding into my wounds. I am falling, slipping down this slope, wind howls in my ears and I plummet below the cloud cover, into the cold, torrential rain.
I came home from work today on shaky legs. I had a sense of panic. I was on edge. Everything seemed too bright, too real, too harsh. My eyes couldn’t adjust. I squirmed uncomfortably, I felt restless.
I caved. And I cried.
It’s been months since I’ve broken like this. I can hardly recall the last time I sobbed under the weight of the world. I buckled in the grass, hot tears on my face. I pressed my head to the earth and wept.
I clutched at my firefly necklace and I begged God not to take anything more from me.
I composed myself, wandered inside and climbed into my bed.
I slept, shutting out my mind, retreating into a world of quiet.
I find myself halfway down that steep incline, wedged into the rock, covered in blood and gravel. Rain drenches me and wind chills me to the bone. I manage to crawl up onto my knees, rocks and grit piercing my wounded skin. My head reels, my vision weaves, distorted. I breathe deeply as the pouring rain pounds my soul. I breathe in this storm until my mind clears, my heart slows, I regain balance. I pull myself up to my feet, digging my hands into the dirt above. Slivers of blue sky are revealed to me, far above this tempest.
I reach up and begin the climb again.
“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”