August has always held me gently. Soft and strong, it once was a month that held so much pain but now every August quiet reflection and contemplation rises up and washes over me like the gentle breeze. If I could hold on to these sacred days, to the gentleness August brings, I would.
I feel like if August was a person she would be dripping in beads, wearing flowing fabrics and dancing with the puffs of air. Her laugh would sound like wind chimes clinking against one another on the porch long after dark when the air is only slightly rustled.
August, for me, has always felt like coming home, like peeling back the layers and peering into myself and finding things I never really knew I'd left there.
He stood with his guitar, singing in such a way that the air hung off the breath of magic and I knew I wanted to write like that. I wanted my not so elegant prose and poetry to drip off the branches of trees like dew drops, to mesmerize and simultaneously awe those around me. I feel the words inside me, and I want to one day reach that glistening shining spot of successful. I wish I knew what that looked like. But as I watched him play, choking on my words, my fingers aching for a pen, I knew I wanted this. Being an artist suddenly sounded like the most magical thing in the world.
I think as an artist there's always that someone better. There's that someone with a publishing deal, a fully completed manuscript that doesn't suck, with a concert venue or a next show or more followers. I call myself an artist but a lot of the time that feels like me out here, just doing my own thing, sometimes writing good things but a lot of the time writing bad things but always creating. And when there's someone else, someone else on this journey of artistry who is further along up the path than you are, who understands the solitary quest of creating, it's an inspiring and terrifying feeling.
As I watched him play, I also watched his girlfriend. My best friend when I was 4 years old, she reminds me of pieces of the past I almost forgot. She's grown now, and beautiful, and it's easier to think she has this life thing more figured out than I do. Maybe somewhere along the line we grew apart and she got the magical answer key and I got a series of questions. And I'm watching her and remembering when we were young, and how it was supposed to be different but she's here in this life I don't fit into effortlessly anymore. Sometimes I wish I did.
I wish my life was beautiful and grandeur instead of this clunky imitation I'm still learning how to stand inside and come home to at night.
There they are, these two, in the life I thought I was supposed to be living, the one I dreamed about. And he's singing about love and apologies, and I look across at the boy holding my hands. He looks up at me and smiles, and I smile, and I feel so in love in this moment I think my heart will burst out of my chest, will finally break free of the cage it's been contained in for so long and exist as its own vessel of love and light. This life, this love, it's not what I had imagined back when I was a little girl. It's messy, and loud, and not very elegant or graceful. But as I look at it, at him, I know it is the best poetry I have ever written to date. It is my proudest creation, what I never knew I needed. This wild and reckless love is more than enough.
"Love was just an empty room until I felt His heart in you."
The air smelled like coming home. The mountains stood tall to greet me, ready to breathe life into my lungs once again. As we hiked over rocky trails in sandals, unprepared but not unwilling visitors, my heart beat rapidly inside of my chest in a way that made me realize that these hills could do anything to me and it would not be unwelcomed. I think perhaps its genetic, this deep and true love for the wild unknown.
We ate lunch on the patio of this little vegan restaurant, which I loved and he didn't. The waitress had an Australian accent, and the people who passed by on the street were all kinds of foreign and familiar. When he stayed and ate I knew he loved me.
We walked the streets and I drank rich, strong black coffee. Musicians played on street corners. I was enchanted by this city, the way it extended rivers like veins, the way mountain peaks rose like the confidant gaze of the sure and steady. Even in the face of the unknown, it beckoned me to trust. It tickled the delicate underside of my heart, whispering courage into my bones, giving me strength for the journey.
I'm still marveling at how it feels to be accepted into a family not your own. As the girl who grew up with a disjointed illustration of family, the tender process of finding my own is not something I take lightly. The arms outstretched to welcome me, the goodbye hugs that speak of always being welcome here, the opening up of more than a home but a heart, it does not go unnoticed.
And in the final moments when the bags were all packed in the car and hugs were being given, his mother said to me, "You're our girl now too." and I realized what it's like to have homes scattered all around the country. And my heart swells.
The car ride home is long, filled with more undistinguishable moans, sighs and laughs than actual words. We listen to others talk and don't talk to each other. I feel the weight as I try to sort out the big topics in my mind, as I work through the matters of faith I began to give some attention to when August's #thisisagoodbody challenge was taking place, as I think about the huge and important blog post I'm writing. We spend the last hour laughing about nothing. We pull into the driveway exhausted and I'm not sure of the long days before me. I wish to hold on to these final, fleeting moments of summer.