I watched the dragonfly gorge on one of its own family, a grisly fascination seized my troubled mind. I was here to crowd out my loneliness with summer’s rich miasma of busyness. People were a wall to me but nature welcomed me to join her and in the shimmering bustle of the warm afternoon I wrestled with myself while giving in to the wonders. The beauty was both anchor and beckoning call to end it all. The water glistening music and deep dark forbidding current to oblivion. The mayflies silvery wings whirring with life above the surface of the river and then the jaws fixed it in cannibalistic frenzy by its distant cousin. The swans gracefully luxuriant in their purity and hissing their devil sounds shattering the picture and proving the world would always be against me. Wherever I looked there was the call of a rich tomorrow while the anguish of my depression would drive me to seek an answer to the sickening hole at the centre of my being. And an answer I would discover, the yes and no of every human argument, the tussle of opposing opinions holding in tension the truth…we are two sides of that same argument and until you meet yourself in the middle there will always be that tug of war inside.
On those summer days I would retrace my steps and hope that in my choice to return, something had changed. But of course nothing ever did. The inabilities inside that drove me to these isolated places of beauty would await my return and latch themselves back on to my painfully shy exterior. For the world has a way of labelling you, people have a habit of judging you and if you believe what they have proclaimed you are, you become stuffed into their box that limits your choice and squashes every resolve to break free. And even when I had grown a little stronger I still languished in inaction and a mutual affection that was evident to all was unrequited by both and we departed our separate ways.
And in love’s colossal failure a different being was born in a place where no-one knew me, a place where I could recreate myself in an image which hoped that love with the girl at home might still exist. And into this fairy tale I strode with greater confidence because the lie could well be true and I lived in that hopefulness. And I lived. Yes there were those alone times, but hope was with me, and a set of people that didn’t judge me on what they knew. And in time another loved me for what I had made myself, but I shunned that love too because if she were to know the reality she would not truly care for me. Inside I was still denying a gigantic truth about myself – that I was worth knowing, worth loving. And once I realised that were true all roads opened, except those I’d already avoided.
And that’s when the smile came and the eyes that shone. And summer became that endless place of discovering life is rich and good without any flip side, for love in that summer sun is enough to extinguish every shadow, all darkness of thought and intention. Those missed opportunities in my past would never be forgotten. Their names are signposts in my route to love. They taught me how to love, how to act upon it by realising what it felt like not to and so finally how to break through those self imposed restrictions that guard our heart from freedom.