Musings: The Forest, the Archangel, and Me

This is a bit of an experimental piece of writing in that I just sort of freewrote for about half an hour and am now posting completely unedited. I’ve decided to post these sorts of writings under the title “Musings” so that it’s clear that they aren’t quite as polished or sensical as my normal work. 

* * *

If Love were a person, she’d be an archangel. 

She would wear armor, chinked and well-traveled, and she would carry a mighty shield, for all of the battles that she’s seen and for all of the times that she’s fought for her heart and soul; all of the times that she’s won and lost the battle and continues to fight. And she would also wear a thick, warm cloak round her neck for the warmth and the solidity, plenty big for one and more than enough to share. 

I begged for Love to come save me several times over the course of my life. Often I was denied–or so it felt, because I could not see her shield hovering over me, protecting me, keeping me safer within myself than I would have been on the arms of the strangers and wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing that I was pleading for her to bring into my heart. And I was not wrong to feel cheated. How was I to know of her greater plan? And how could I, a simple sinner, see the gifts that she had already given me?

A loving woman who raised me and nurtured me with the patience and tirelessness of a fairy godmother, who held me to her breast every single time I felt too overwhelmed to stare into the abyss head-on, and who I am confident would do it still. 

A man stalwart and tall and driven and kind and who attended every single one of my school plays and science fairs and award ceremonies just because he wanted me to know that he cared, never mind the occasion or the triviality of the event; if it was important to me, it was important to him. 

And a young girl so fiercely and laughingly herself, donned in dark colors and knife-sharp cat eyeliner and a smirk to punch holes through lesser men for miles, who padded about behind me and looked up to me and asked me what there was to life beyond her crib walls until one day she grew old enough to shoulder life’s burdens herself and make it look so easy.

But still. I yearned. I prayed. I begged Love for guidance and companionship that I couldn’t find in my family. I pled hard and long for the presence of another: understanding, warm, laughing, with a sun-kissed smile and an aura wide enough to shelter me safely beneath their own personal roof. 

Love, as always, was willing to provide…so long as I agreed to go looking.

So I looked. And I looked. Up and down, far and wide, I looked. I spent so long looking that I barely noticed that I’d found the one that Love had sent until he practically shoved himself into my lap and demanded that I understand who he was and why he was here. 

He called himself Forrest, and it suited him. His eyes were the light-tipped brown of cedar bark or the fur of a buck; his lips were sculpted like flowers blooming alongside the flowing, babbling riverbed that was his voice; and when he offered me his arms and tucked me in close to his chest, he smelled of pines and wind and freshly-fallen rain, and carried with him the warmth of bonfires with the same biting, ember-filled smoke. 

God, do I love him. Every day that I see him am I reminded that I love him. The dimples in his cheeks and the spark in his eyes and the fire in his belly that ignites him forward–always pushing, always reaching, always daring to do the most he can to succeed. Always staring into the yawning abyss that surrounds us all and positively daring it to make the first move. And yet always seeming surprised when I tell him how much I admire how far he has come.

On nights like these, I tend to miss him. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a great deal more. At present I lie in my bed alone while he is hundreds of miles away, allowing me to chase a dream that even I am unsure really exists while he struggles through the tar and the mire that is his own life, the stakes of which are sometimes too high for me to even fathom.

If he is a forest, then I must be a creature living inside of it, confined to my own little sphere of influence that I’ve grown so accustomed to that I can hardly imagine what the larger picture must be facing. He fights daily with his demons–his money, his time, his grievances, his mental health–and here I am, no longer able to hold his hand while he battles them. Perhaps it is better this way. I prefer to tell myself that it is better this way. 

Love sits beside me, her cloak encompassing the three of us, despite our estrangement. He often calls, and then I am reminded of that fire-belly and that dimpled face and those warm, engrossing eyes. He is my forest, Love is my archangel, and what am I to them? The animal within the forest? Some other force too great for me to fathom? Where do I fit in?

I know only this: he does love me back. He has told me and shown me in so many ways. He traces it across my skin with his hands and his words, and paints it across the pavement in tire tracks every time he drives up to see me. He gives it to me in cups of coffee and the pages of my favorite books and within the coding of phones and computers and in every strategy game he lets me win. And if he does love me so much that his heart may burst even before mine, then the archangel is clearly on both of our sides. 

And that does count for something. 

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