It took me a while to shake the numbness off. Hearing my voice minus the brokenness caught me by surprise. I remember saying to myself, “Wait a minute, that’s ME…that’s MY voice.” What I can’t recall is when it came back. Thinking about it, I wish I’d written more about the time when I blossomed from the pain planted deepest in me.
In my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Forest Park is an area that brings me a peace which allows me to get lost in something other than my own thoughts. Nestled in the middle of the city, this forest is where, following the loss of my grandmother and baby brother within three months of each other in 2013, I spent a lot of time in silence or crying. During the day, I’d lie down on the cascading mounds prickly blades of grass on Art Hill, in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum, and allow the earth to hold the heaviness of my heart. I’d lower my windows and drive through the park at night, forcing myself to breathe deeply. It was one of the only places where I felt like I could release the grief trapped in my throat. At my lowest points, I’d imagine wind-brushed trees clapping for me, applauding my even waking up. Rustling leaves and branches swaying reminded me of how I once danced. I tucked those movements into a special place within me, and knew, when the time came, that once again I’d move happily and freely.
It’s been a little over five years since the shape of my life and family was changed. Slowly but surely, I’m resurfacing as a more identifiable version of me. This was a long winter. Yet I reflect on a subtle wisdom of trust that trees offer us. Trust that you will be cared for. Trust that life will grant you all that is needed. Stand firm. When an incident comes upon you, know that nothing goes to waste. Know that rescue, by way of nature, is ever-present, waiting for us to lay our burdens down.