Up Here

April 27, 2010
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Up here, the wind kisses your face lightly in a claming breeze. The sun still carries the warmth of summer, but soon it will fade. The sky is light blue decorated with swishing clouds high in the sky, not low and oppressive but faint and carefree. Up here all the worries you carry mean nothing, they are insignificant and will soon fade away, carried by the wind to a far distant place. The empty space before you calls to you, begging you to spread your wings and fly into it. It is not an overwhelming nothingness like the view from an airplane, nor a limited space like those on the ground. It is defined and given shape by the contours of the land beneath it, rising hills that hint at valleys that need to be explored, secret places hidden amongst fall’s oranges and reds.

The hills are covered in the soft shapes of leafy trees, an expanse in which each tree has its own unique shape and color, and together they make a mass that swallows up the small human efforts to control the landscape. Up here, you can see the straight lines of highways and houses and clearings all being eaten up by the rolling ,adaptable tree line. Up here, you can see that no matter how rigid and controlled the ground may seem, the wild sky dwarfs it. Birds flit and insects dance in this space, filling it with exuberant life that can never be tamed by humans.

The world in between is where you sit, at the top of a tall tree on the crest of one of many hills. You do not feel alone or isolated, as the trees behind you are equally tall, sharing the view without intruding on your thoughts. Around you the tree shifts slightly in the light breeze, needles rustling. It feels things slowly, a golden state of calm that has lasted for a hundred years and will likely last a hundred more. Squirrels, chipmunks, and small birds own this land of leafy branches, rarely coming down. This place holds all the food and water they will ever need, and they move through it effortlessly, hopping or fluttering from branch to branch, safe and secure.

Up here this is no sadness or worry. Up here there are no rules, deadlines, or authorities. Up here there are no lies. There is freedom stretching to the horizons and beyond, clean air to breathe filled with the soft smell of the forest. There is joy abounding and smiles, tears to let go all that you have left behind on the ground. You are free to feel, to laugh and to cry, to smile. You are free to think, speak and shout your beliefs to the trusting and compassionate air, to kiss the sky, to love. You are in control of yourself, and at the same time part of a beautiful whole. The whole does not swallow the individual and demand sacrifices: it welcomes uniqueness and feelings. The whole is beautiful, as are all the many and varied individuals that make up the whole. For a single spinning moment you are something more, something greater. The only sounds are rustling leaves, birdsongs, and the sound of sunlight.

And now the ground is pulling you back, reaching up to grab you by the ankle and drag you down. Creatures flee in terror as you fly downwards, heading at breakneck speed for the ground. Your arms whirl through the familiar branches as the ground repeats its hungry call, demanding your return. Wham. Your feet hit the ground. You are back to what is even more familiar, your normal routine. As you pick up your cell phone from the tree stump where you left it, it vibrates to show you a text detailing the latest social complication. A car honks, and your mother hollers from the backdoor that it is time for you to come inside and eat. You are back to the grind, one of several billion, living out a normal life within the confines and by the rules of humans. But you weren’t always. Not for the hundreds of ascents to that lofty point, the hours passed up there. And you will never be able to go up there again.

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