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I’m not who I was when this all started, yet somehow it feels like I have been caught in time. I cling onto the memories from before, knowing I must not be the only one struggling with the passing of days. There have been barely any photos of me taken over nearly two years and I stare at the me I was before, happy on top of a mountain, vibrant and beaming and so so so alive. I am not her anymore. Simultaneously surpassed and diminished all that I was. I fucking crave life and touch and something indefinable. Give me adventure and mountain tops and the deep, deep ocean. I will dive in the salt water and gasp at the cold.

Will you recognize me when you see me again? I am changed forever, marked from grief and fear and a lot of laughter. White hairs bloom like spring shoots from the earth of my scalp, and I notice lines marking my face like love notes carved into trees. I always made jokes about being an old man stuck in this body, and it makes me laugh to see myself turn grey before I’m even thirty. I understand now why witches are always cackling. Still, I am here, baby faced and something new. Just hardened and cracked like ancient lava.

Please know I’m trying so hard to make this writing beautiful, not just for me, but for you. These words are a gift, the only gift I was ever really good at giving. I try to so delicately and gently place the right words together, like following the steps of a spell; a spell for the sensitive ones, the healing ones. I give a drop of my blood, catch my sweat as it drips, quickly snatch my sigh out of the air in a tiny glass vial. This spell, these words, they are for us. I try to make it beautiful, but let’s not pretend, let’s not pretty it up for once; healing can be a fucking messy undertaking.

I promise the trees will hold you. And I promise the ocean loves you. And I promise the mountains are waiting for you.

August is here again and so are the winds. I wrote about them four years ago. Do you remember?

There must be something about Winter’s death that leaves it’s mark every year and changes me. The wind smells like the coming Spring and the seasons keep changing while I am here, unmoving. Can you understand why when I see the flowers ready to bloom they make me want to cry? Please, please take me where it's snowing so I can bury myself in the silence. It’s so loud here in this place; here in this place I once belonged to.

I remember how before I met you I so naively thought that there was something wrong with me that I could not return people’s love. You helped me to remember how momentous my love is. You taught me how to love without throwing knives. I never knew what it really meant when I asked for a love that would break me open.

A month ago I sat, in vigil, and watched my grandmother in her last days, holding her skeletal, wrinkled hands in my own tiny palms. I hope she absorbed my love through her bones. I hope she knew how grateful I am. I used to brush her hair and rub the life back into her feet when she could barely walk. My love language has always been touch. Now we put flowers in the garden for her. Lavender and lilys, pink and purple as the sunset.

I hold a hot water bottle against my back at night to pretend it’s someone holding me while I sleep. I am lonely in a way that aches, like a child full of longings and fantasies. I imagine baking cakes with grandmothers who are now only ash in the earth, ash blowing in this wind, simultaneously not here but everywhere. I imagine a love filled home on a mountain with a cat, and plane trips to foreign countries. I crave life in all this isolation. How do I get my bearings in this chaos? How do I transmute this grief into life?

Maybe these words hold the answers.

There are some days, moments, minutes, where I want to bury myself inside the earth. Tie myself with rope and roots inside the belly of an old yew tree. Dig myself inside the depths into my own nest of earth. The branches stretching out above me, gnarled and twisted like the hands of a great grandmother. Bones and bracken. Moss and mold. I keep digging down until I find a sliver of self; something hidden, a mystery for both of us.

I braid my hair with memories and longing; sometimes mine, sometimes borrowed. I braid my hair because it connects me to something ancient and endearing. This longing a vulnerability I share for release. A soul craving for touch; flesh on flesh and heart to heart. Your blood pulse is my lifeline. I would fall inside you if I could, through all the layers of ink and scars.

I know I know I know things can’t go back to normal, and chaos is everybody’s new love language but please show me how to flow inside this density, this staggering uncertainty. Most days I remember. Oh I really do remember: certainty was always just a myth. Yet still, childlike and vulnerable, I grasp at the fantasy. Gasping for air, sinking into the deep again, drowning from my own paralysis. I swear on my heart I am grateful for every agonizing transition, every blessed transmutation.

I fell in love with the mountains maybe just because at their heights I no longer feel so very small. The horizon has become like folklore. I want to feel the cold alpine air on my face and remember what it is to be a giantess. I will press my face into the rock and pray to the mountains core. This is my prayer.

Through words and story I gather the bones.

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