Today I was doing an image search for ” Crossroads” because I wanted a new picture for my header here at my blog.
Each image I came across was dark, what was beyond the crossroad itself hinted at desolation all of these images implied that if you were here at the Crossroads you were lost and probably damned.
Avoid the Crossroads- that’s where Deals are made with the Devil- so the story goes.
I’ve found myself at the Crossroads over my life- and though I’ll have to admit they are lonesome places to be because we do arrive there alone I can’t say I’ve been frightened by my predicament.
They are familiar places to me and I’ve long since accepted them as my home away from home.
I suppose people are afraid of the Crossroads because we are supposed to find our path and stick to it, create a path and stick to it. Don’t stray from the path or else you could find yourself at The Crossroads with nothing for company but an empty road and the Devil.
Well guess what.
I’d rather find myself at the Crossroads over and over again then to stay on a path, to follow a road and stay on the straight and narrow because we are told that’s what happy humans do.
After all, when we are on a road and we are swinging through life with a song on our lips, Vegan Chocolate Cookies in our backpack and we are safe and happy and secure we are doing what we are supposed to do-finding that place, that friend, that lover to complete us.
That’s what life is supposed to be all about: BELONGING.
It takes a special kind of darkness in us to be willing to face the unknown, the uncertainty and pain that loneliness brings with nothing but company but for your devils and nightmares and one unmarked road after another.
I’ve always picked a road in the end and sometimes I stay on it and sometimes I don’t and when it suits me I head back to the Crossroads again.
Nightmares, Devils, endless sunsets and eternal nights- without them I guess I wouldn’t be who I am.
To not be me. To not be ourselves. To never know how brave and fearless we really are because we never tested ourselves. To spend our lives hiding in the sunlight where it’s safe and bright and everyone looks great in Yoga Pants.
Think about it.
I guess there’s a chance we might run into each other, you know where to find me- if you dare.
There is a meme going around Facebook and the tag line is ” One job, you had one job ”
I thought I had one job, just one job and that job was writing.
When I listened to music, absorbed art, went about my day in the back of my mind-actually what was on my mind front and center was- how can I use this in my work.
Bees and ants working night and day to build and feed their hives and nest had nothing on me. My mind was constantly filing away sounds and smells, faces, words. I used it all. I devoured it all. I wasted nothing.
I was efficient in my job, my one job that I’ve been doing since I was nine years old.
Have I ever won a major prize, contract or had a publisher look at my blogs and say, ” Sign her, for Godsakes do it now before someone snatches her up!”
Ha! Not even close.
My one job, just the one job that I was designed for, the I do for no other reason then that who I have been in mind and soul for over 40 years is writing.
I guess at this point you may have noticed I use the words ” was ” more then once here.
What happened, you might be wondering.
I faded and then I broke.
Once at work I dropped a crystal piece for a chandelier and to my amazement the crystal didn’t break, it hit the ground and most of it turned to dust.
The remains of the crystal sparkled on the dusty cement floor, they twinkled a little when I swept them up and when I tossed it’s remains into the trash it all disappeared.
Four years ago, I’m not sure about the exact moment it started because the losses I went through in one year were devastating but I’m sure it was the day my dog Domino died, that that certainty of who I was, that glue that held me together went away- just as surely as if someone had dropped me on a dusty floor where I turned to dust and swept me up and tossed me into the trash.
I had been diagnosed with Depression in the past and had managed to pull myself out of it with treatment.
This time it was different, this time I was to tired to fight.
I gave up.
I’ve written about Hell and Nightmares and Monsters for years.
Do you know what’s funny?
I never wrote about Despair.
I should have because that was my undoing. I wasn’t ready for the despair. I had no idea what it felt like, I had never given it a face or a name.
Despair is what consumed me and once that took hold, I wasn’t Anita Marie the Writer. I don’t know who or what I was was. I was lost and broken.
I did manage to write on my blog, for as good as it felt to write, it felt like a chore and then something started to change.
Funny enough, it started with dream.
In my dream I was checking into a hotel on a lake.
The Receptionist had dark hair and golden orange eyes and her name tag read, ” Domino ”
” Before you check in, ” Domino told me as she took the pen from the penholder near the guestbook ” I think you should see this.”
She took me outside to the back of the hotel and in the courtyard line with trees and in the center of the yard on a pile of jagged rocks was a deformed snake.
” This one sheds its skin, likes snakes do but this one crawls back into its old skin.”
I could see the snake rolling and contorting itself inside of it’s old skin.
” We keep pulling it out but it forces it’s way back in. See?”
I could see hand prints on the dead skin. How many times I wondered did hands pull at the snake. From the looks often.
” Don’t forget the snake, okay?” Domino the Receptionist said.
I said I wouldn’t
When Domino was my dog, I promised to take care of her when her heart started to fail and she needed constant care and comfort. I promised to show her as much of the world as I could.
I kept that promise right up to the day she died.
I guess,simply put, she asked me one more time to keep a promise and I was glad to.
I’d have done anything for Domino.
The next day I did what I had to in order to put myself back together- practical day to day things.
It was surprisingly easy and I savored my wins as opposed to thinking I had just made it through another day without my world burning and crashing all around me.
My promise to Domino to remember the snake, to not force myself back into my old skin was the element I needed to take the parts of me that were blown apart and stitch them back together again.
I realize that I can’t be exactly who I was before, and it’s a little sad.
On the other hand, that job, that one job that I have always had is the thing I’ve brought back together.
It might not look exactly the same, but I think that is not going to be such a bad thing.
One lived in Seattle, the other in Honokaa, Hawaii.
When I was about 7 they were both in Washington at the same time- and though they didn’t meet up they both told me a story.
My Grandfather Bert’s story took place in Seattle, my Grandfather Cypriano’s version in Hawaii.
In the story they stopped at the side of the road to help a woman- she flagged them down if I remember it right.
My Grandfather Cypriano was pretty clear- the woman was a ghost- a bad one. And he drove off.
My Grandfather Bert, didn’t drive off. He had some sort of conversation with her and it did not go well. I was under the impression she had scared him pretty bad.
They both told me at the end of the story to never stop for this woman- ever. Don’t even talk to her they said.
So this brings me to now
My Neighbor and A Murder of Crows.
I noticed her for the first time two years ago when I had just got my puppy Hamish and had started walking him everyday because a smart Labrador Pup with too much time on his paws is not a good combination in one small creature who will grow to be a big dog.
On the day we saw her, were walking up the hill when five or six crows settled down on the fences and wires and some were in the trees. The entire time they were flying in and setting down they were in a rage and at first I thought there may have been an injured one or even a baby crow on the ground but as far as I could see there was nothing.
They were ignoring me and Hamish, they were much interested in what was coming towards us.
She was tiny and petite and blond- she was wearing headphones and jogging- her hair was caught behind her head in a pony tail. I don’t see a lot of joggers in my neighborhood, but the ones who do come through aren’t covered by a cloud of crows dive bombing them each step of the way.
Hamish was about 12 weeks old at the time, so I kept him walking because he was in his jumping up phase and when she jogged by us she smiled at me and Hamish ran behind my leg and hid.
It been over two years since me and Hamish saw The Jogger and The Murder of Crows- we always know when she’s coming because the crows fly ahead of her. Me and Hamish stay on the other side of the street from her and she ignores us, but Hamish always raises his hackles at her and he doesn’t even seem to notice all of the crows which is some trick because there are easily over two dozen of them cawing their lungs out and buzzing around her.
To be honest, the sight of that is disturbing but I’m glad the crows are there.
At the beginning of last fall me and Luis were walking Hamish when the Jogger came right by us and the crows were there too- of course. I know Hamish doesn’t like her so I was worried he’d growl or bark. So I was going to move him to my left and just as I did she did she was right next to Luis and Hamish jumped up and pushed Luis away from her.
There were about five crows that had set down on the fence and when they saw Hamish do that, they took off after the jogger and buzzed her – they were literally in her face. They were furious. I had never seen them that angry in two years.
So you might be wondering what the Jogger does when the crows are swarming her- not a thing. She doesn’t wave her arms around or yell ‘shoo’ or anything. She just has a creepy smile on her face. She keeps on jogging.
So what do we think?
Are these events connected?
I think so.
That’s why I’ve never said a word to her- ever.
It seems like a good idea not to.
Interesting Reading: Crows on Campus– I’ve seen them here and it’s quite a sight when they come in to roost for the night.
I have found that I am at my most creative not when I connect with the world around me, but when I’m not afraid to connect with myself and what is going on inside of my own head.
Sometimes it’s easy to go on my blog and ‘rant’ as the kids call it. Sometimes I have some valid things to say, but most of the time I wish I had written a story or tried my hand at a poem instead.
I’m reading and watching a lot of Joseph Campbell now days, and I’ve learned that with a shared story- and without the people who create and tell these stories our sense of community fails.
Facebook is an example of people struggling to connect and the story there is how they’ve done it- or for the most part how they’ve NOT connected. One day I figure that will be a recognized part of our mythos.
But who will tell that story? Who will find the heroes and the villains and record the path that people found themselves on once they entered the realm of Facebook.