Draft to draft we float on a tendril of thought that cannot be contained. A wisp of air that snakes its way through our brain, focusing on the amazing and then the mundane. Our mental dance is beautiful in its simple complexity until it becomes overwhelming. When we pause to take a breath, we feel the connections being made as the tendrils connect and expand into others until our thoughts are a river. Merged, messy and raging yet peaceful, purposeful.
Here we had a boat, unfortunately this time its more... complicated
A river is beautiful to behold, but when it becomes your mind it is impossible to stem the flow. We have now used impossible to define our writing in back to back posts, but this is the honest truth. We are trying our best to separate these tendrils of thought, these tributaries of memories, these streams of consciousness, from the raging river that is our mind, but we still cannot.
To "write" a river, is not to write a story. We need to harness the singular, the solitary, and the wisp of air that too quickly merges into its larger being, creating a cacophony of chaos. The struggles we are facing with our "mental river" have direct parallels to the struggle of trying to contain a physical river. Or at least trying to make sense of it. Yes, it has a source, it has tributaries, it has streams, that all feed to create this massive host. A massive host that is defined singularly as a river, but in its singular definition contains thousands upon thousands of parts that create the whole.
We have tried to write a story about Ohio, we have tried to write a story about Florida, we have tried to write a story about growth, we have tried to write a story about anything, anything besides this feeling!
A picture of Ohio will have to suffice until we can put words to it
All we get is a title and a blank stare at our screen as the tendril of thought we had rushes forward into an overwhelming river of feelings that we cannot decipher from. So, instead we sit back upon the banks of our mind and gaze upon this river. Awed by its size and swiftness, too scared to dip a toe into it. The ferocity of the sound drowns out our ears. We scan the banks hoping for a bridge, a log, any rocks to cross, but all we see is raging waves as they crest and break upon each other. There is no safe way across, so here we sit.
Yet, ultimately we do need to get across. We cannot stay stuck here, to remain stuck is to invite stagnancy, decay, a withering of our mind. So, we pull ourselves up from the banks and begin to test the waters. With each word our trekking pole tests the depths. With each sentence we wade to our waist to be turned back by its current. With each paragraph we learn and decipher just a bit more of its intricacies. Learn of the pebbles underneath the current where it is safe to put a foot. Learn of the the pockets of deep water that while bottomless are still and can potentially be safe. Learn that we can wade into it and let it fully encompass us without being swept away. We learn that the fear will remain constant, we cannot shake that, but we can continue to learn. For now we shall learn.
On this bank we remain, still no fully safe way across, but with every foray into its waters, we become more confident that there will be a way across. We must learn patience. A weakness of ours that must be grown into a strength. A blessing inside of a curse. This river gives us the chance to grow, to learn, and to become a better person, but we still feel frustration. Never before have we encountered a impassible mental hurdle of this magnitude.
At least while we are on this side of the river we get to share in the best company imaginable
On trail we have honed our mentality with thousands of miles, and millions of moments. The mental hurdles of trail are now "easy." Finding fuel in hunger, finding energy in exhaustion, finding laughter inside of grief. For us this has become our normal, our standard. The difference though is we always could continue forward momentum. We could always put one foot in front of the other, no matter the obstacle in front of us. Through injury, pain, hypothermia, as our bodies began to shut down, our mind would shine a light forward, and we would continue.
To continue forward now though we must wait. It is not that we do not want to and have not tried over and over again to just to be pushed back. It is simply our mind won't allow this. It remains a river that we cannot cross. It is not a choice. We must find patience.
So, back to the same bank we return. Having tested the waters again today, as we did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.. As we return though this time, we feel different. With this metaphor, we have been able to put words to thoughts and feelings. We have been able to see a pattern in the river's chaos. We can let the river overwhelm us while still remaining whole. Eventually the waters will go down, and a way across will present itself. While still not even close to deciphering its code, we now know there is hope.
Impossible is not a word we will use again.