Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dear Michigan ("Nature is what we know, yet have not art to say")

I know it’s been a few days since I last wrote, Michigan, and I’ve already fallen off my schedule, but I’ll get back on track. I would have written Friday, but I was driving out to see you. I have to say, there was something wonderful about waking Q when I got there, the way she wrapped her arms around my neck in the dark and pulled me to her without saying a word. The way she kissed me in the silence, as if she’d been holding her breath since I’d last seen her and needed me to fill her lungs. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was soft and sweet and the sort of moment forever’s made of. I had planned to focus on a few other topics this week, but how can I not write about a part of you many people might not even be aware of, a part somewhere deep inside of me I want to keep to myself because Q and I had such a great time there? But that would be selfish. And the purpose of these letters is to remind you of just how special you are, to let you know that not everyone takes for granted the beauty and the strength and the love that you possess.

It was such a contrast to the previous weekend in the city, as we spent hours Sunday at Holly Park hiking one of the many trails. At times the natural world was so thick around us it felt as if we were hundreds of miles from the nearest people, but then the path would open slightly near the water and we’d be reminded that it was a holiday weekend as people kayaked and fished and splashed about here and there. But on the trail itself, it was mostly just me and Q and all that natural beauty (hers and yours alike). Q and I share quite a few things in common, like the fact that we love the hum of the city, the electricity you find there, as well as the solitude of being smack dab in the middle of nowhere and knowing, all the while, it’s really somewhere special. Sunday was one of those days where being removed for awhile from the rest of the world was exactly where we wanted to be. And the more I learn about you Michigan, the more I realize there are all sorts of beautiful places where I can be alone with you, where I can be alone with her.

I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, but just being outside among the trees and the water and all the many animals, and stopping every so often to just be there with you in the moment, I fill then with something more than me, something pure and vital and that thing is love. It may sound odd, but I don’t really have the words. Like Emily Dickinson said, “Nature is what we know yet have not art to say.” But it’s like that when I’m with Q. It’s like there’s this deep invisible connection from the roots, like below our feet, deep down in the earth, part of us has been connected all our lives and when we’re together the rest of us catches on, the rest of us comes alive. I’m not talking passion (though I am very passionate about her) as much as I am this almost ancient essential part of us that has no name and doesn’t just exist inside us, but through us, around us. It’s a lot like the movie Avatar and the way the entire planet was connected, not just the life forms to each other, but even to those of the past, to all life. And in Holly Park, this past Sunday, Q and I stepped away from my job search and from the kids and from work and from the stress of all those miles that keep us apart some days. And it was then, while we were together with you, that I could feel what I feel every time I hear her voice over the phone, every time I see her smile, every time I hold her hand, only magnified. I could feel myself fill up, not just with myself, but with that something more, with that deep love that connects us at the roots. It was a simple day really with the woman I love. And it was wonderful!

Thank you for that, Michigan. I love you.

Here's another Emily Dickinson quote that I find relevant with regards to my feelings about Q and about you, Michigan: “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

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