The sad yellow light and the crispy brown leaves that shudder when the wind blows reminds me of days when I lived in a solitary little cabin in the solitary woods that was really close to two major roadways but somehow directly in the heart of no man's land.
I know what it is like to spend hours upon hours alone. Isolation does funny things to the mind after a while. The place where we lived was up on a windy hill and a ten minute's walk to the old trans Canada highway. Nothing much happening on either end and Ian had the car had the car had the car at work at work at work and I was home alone alone alone even though I was not usually alone because I had little children and too many cats under my care constantly.
I've said it before, but I am doubtful anyone believes me... there would be nobody and nothing, not a sound, not a car, not a bird, not an animal, for days when the fall time came around. It was weird. One year, the entire road was shut down and a deep canyon was literally blasted open in the road. My usual walk up that annoying hill was no longer possible. A deep cliff resided in its place, ready to kill me if I went too far on a too dark night. A sign flashing ominous red lights kept the warning alive. Even at night, blink blink blink went those red red lights through the windows. The usual pitch darkness that was punctuated with coyote's yelps was now flashing red every fifteen seconds or so, reminding us that we indeed lived at the end of the world. My solitude ate away at my mind. The constant repetition of the blinking lights made things that much worse. I began to feel like a complete stranger to even my closest friends. I was awkward in public and even more awkward on a personal level. I existed in a vacuum of solitude and the effects could not be seen by the naked eye. My friends and I drifted apart and never really returned to each other. I am alone. Even when I am in a room full of people, the memory echoes and I feel so very much alone.
Our house was built within the bedrock. In the basement, it jutted up from the floor. It was always cold. I felt like it sucked my energy. Our wood stove was right above it and many many times I had all I could do to stay awake as I attempted to build a fire. Every piece of wood was always a bit damp. Every piece of kindling was always a bit too large. Every attempt I made with a hatchet to cut it up felt a little too precarious. Nothing nothing nothing was ever easy.
Now I sit in a sunbathed living room. Electric heat rolled right into the cost of rent. A beautiful view of my son's ivy-swathed high school stands like a sentential atop the hill, overlooking the Saint John River on the back and the Saint John Harbour on the front. Still, that yellow light creeps in. The crows call now and then to remind me of those days. All all alone in the woods woods woods.
It is funny how certain times and certain places come to define you no matter how far away you remove yourself from them. The ghosts of my own past haunt my mind like a tincan with a nail inside. Rattle rattle rattle. At times like this I wonder if my sanity has really been reduced and I wonder if the scars are more like amputations. Will there ever be a day when I don't feel so much weight in the weightlessness of my mind? Will there ever come a time when I can just untether my head from that stone that jutted up from the basement of our house? Yet, last month I was so homesick for it all I almost threw this entire life to the wind so I could make my way back to that place. My home? I don't know. I don't think so...
I remember one time when my husband left for the day (it seemed he was always leaving for the day) when I felt a voice telling me to just kill myself and be done with it. It was like a demon sitting on my shoulder whispering for me to die. I also remember consciously acknowledging that I knew its game and I knew what it wanted from me. By that time, both kids were in school and I was truly home by myself. Getting a job was out of the question because Ian always had the car had the car had the car.
So, it was just me and the walls and the trees and the winds and the silence the silence the silence. It was trying to drive me mad, I am sure it was. All that beauty had a death grip on me. All those sunsets came at a price. But I fought back because I knew the games the mind can play. I've mapped them out, line by line. You have time to do that when you are alone alone alone for hours and hours and hours day after day after day.
Not long after that, we moved to Bristol in hopes to preserve my sanity, renting my mother's house, which she let me paint purple. But that wasn't home to me either because the people at the store across the street just stood and stared stood and stared stood and stared at us while they dragged while the dragged while they dragged on their cigarettes. Enough cigarettes to cure the deficit of a third world nation. Through summer, winter, fall, and spring, they stared at us like we were some sort of actors in a play that was not actual life. I could not bear the fishbowl effect. There is not a colour under the rainbow that would erase the effects of the eternal watchfulness of nosy people from a small town. How I hated it! It pecked away at my mind like minnows nibbling on a carcass. So, we moved again moved again moved again.
Now, here I sit. Feeling not quite found and not quite lost as the fall light creeps in creeps in creeps in and as the brown leaves rattle on rattle on rattle on. I am older. I am wiser. And nobody stares at us here. In fact, people seem to take no notice of us at all. I like the autonomy. I like the anonymity. But I haven't seen a seagull in days and I wonder about that.