The sounds of a fiddle and guitar float through the air as Ian Munsick plays in the background and I find myself on the porch swing another day. Another night. Everything hurts from pushing wet heavy round bales through the mud out to the horses by myself. The tractor’s still broken. I need to make time and arrangements to get the backhoe down here. I have two horses I’m losing before winter, and land to clean up and a bonfire pit to dig. It’s just farm life. This morning I took a work call from the floor because that’s where I ended up after farm chores, a Charlie horse in my right calf, cramped thighs, a twisted shoulder, and a many-times-mangled too-sore-to-hold-me-up knee.

Strong dark coffee and a quick break in the hot tub helped some, but not for long. I joked on social #coffee now #whiskey later but truth be told I won’t be drinking at all today. Instagram always has it looking like everything is fantastic and there’s always coffee, whiskey, and friends close by but that’s social media for you – especially for me since my profile is public and I work in marketing. But social isn’t reality and often those are two very different things – even when I share some of my writings and struggles there with the world. Lately I haven’t and have simply let people find these words if they want to read them all on their own. Similar to life these days, or at least I am trying, to stop chasing and let things come to me. It’s different, and in many ways I’ve never felt more alone, but I am also starting to see who’s here when I simply stop for a moment to stand still.

Sometimes I walk down the road at night to watch the moon rise. Tonight was especially stunning as the Harvest Moon is always one of my favorites. I walked to try to walk off the pain, stretch out the tangled and gnarled muscles from their knots. Walking along hiding in the darkness wondering what it would feel like to just disappear and become the nothing that everyone told me they’d expect me to become some day even though I’ve long since proved them wrong. And so I duck behind the fence, weaving in and out of the tree line just off the side of the road, avoiding headlights as if I needed to remain unseen even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It was just me and the moonlight – I left the dogs inside. I listened to the coyotes and realized they moved back to the other side of the lake again. An owl called in the distance, waiting for an answer that never came. I know the feeling.

Horses are faster so I can disappear. I keep feeling like I need to do just that yet somehow I’m just standing here waiting for something I can’t see, that I am not even sure I believe in. I know I’m broken, but as someone said to me even about themselves, all the pieces are there. They are, I know that, all of the pieces are there somewhere, they just don’t all fit back together quite the way they used to be. Perhaps we’re not all broken. Perhaps we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t yet disappeared.

cjmillar82 life without a paddle harvest moon