Chasing Sunset

This evening, I went chasing sunsets on a winding, windy, long drive through the cracked country roads. The windows were rolled down. All the way. The sound of fresh air suffocating the faint hint of a familiar song pumping through my faded speakers.

The weather was the kind you talk about.

It was one of those early Spring days where life began to take form, splashed with yellows and greens and warm sunlight.

In the mist of driving and observing, an apparition of an image appeared in my mind:

A picture of my room- lined with stacks of books pushed up against the walls, left on my desk, and lying alone on my bed. Most unfinished, the pages bent halfway through, bookmarks left untouched before the conclusion had been reached.

What does that say about me?

...what does that say about me?

Recently I was sifting through Facebook, looking for nothing in particular, but finding feelings of both lack and abundance. It's interesting, to separate myself from myself and see the subtle spikes and declines in my moods when different stories are pushed towards my view with the swipe of my thumb.

But on this particular day, I landed on a short paragraph told from the point of view of a middle-aged woman living in Bangladesh. For a few seconds, her story made me stop. She told of her heroin-addicted husband who abused her badly- leaving marks and scars on her skin large enough for her young children to count when the beatings had ceased.

It went on for years. And during that time, she never left. She was too scared to go. Too scared to change. Too abused to try and create her own life. Because he had taken her's. Without ever killing her.

She ended her story with, “Not everyone knows how it feels to be happy in life.” The picture accompanying the paragraph was of her face. And she was crying.

And I realized something- I didn't understand. I didn't know how she felt. I couldn't put myself in her shoes. And I didn't know why I couldn't. And it made me sad.

For what am I to do with this privilege of not knowing such pain? Am I to continue living as if stories such as her's don't exist?

I'm always asking questions. Finding answers more difficult to create.

I loosely steered my truck around a sloping corner, catching yellow rays running behind every tree top- sunset would come soon. The radio buzzed to a different song and I turned it up. I recognized the voice, his lyrics sounding more like a prayer hidden in a quiet melody:

“Tell me in a world gone crazy, did we just put it all on hold? Looking for love. What a big idea.”

I think maybe the questions I ask myself are too big sometimes. Too consuming. Too wrought in the corrosive ideas of thought instead of feeling. And because of this, I tend to stop caring. The weight of life lingers sometimes to the feelings of hopelessness and doubt. If helping never seems to help, what are we doing?

Turning onto an abandoned side-street lined with silhouetted pine trees I turned off my truck and sat in the silence of the world. The forest hid the sun from my eyes but I could still see the ashes of a beautiful sunset floating in the sky to the colors of pink and yellow and white.

She did, you know, end up leaving. She took her child and left her husband to try and start her life over. Without ever knowing if her life will be better or worse because of it. But at least she isn't repeating the same days over. At least she's walking down a new road. And at least she never stopped trying. And never stopped caring.

And maybe that's the answer to my questions. Never stop trying. And never stop caring.

I don't know. It isn't much of a revelation. Wrapped in cliches and vague understandings even my insights often times seem too small to change much. Like the other day, I realized something. It hit me while listening to others speak in a crowded public place. I was sitting, sipping some tea, and focusing on nothing in particular when it came to me: the biggest mistake of my youth- was listening only to the young.

Was it is about youth that blinds us of our own ignorance?

The wind gently pushed the pines to the motion of release and resistance. A perfect balance in a world seemingly confused in its own inversions. What is it they say? Only the master knows that which he does not know.

But what I do know- you have to start small. And a small revelation is still a revelation.

So. I think I'll keep caring. And I think I'll keep trying. That's all life ever asks of us anyway.

Darkness spilled over the landscape, spreading like an overturned beverage and at once everything became unfamiliar. I like that. How light and darkness can change everything I thought I once knew. I found there is much wisdom and hope to be found in both.

Turning on my truck, the lights illuminated the dark street, guiding my way back to the main road. And back to home- where I knew a half unfinished book lay quietly on my bed.

...And I think I'll go finish it.

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