I hear rumors of fifty degree nights, thin bike paths, green mountains and runners in training. Forever I had craved oceans but now I just want a mountain to climb. We joke I must be jealous and I plead for photographs. Please send me what you see in Colorado.
The child most traveled was most fearful. He would have never gotten on that plane if she had not been there to hold his hand. I guess it had to be that last step inside was the most determined and contained the moment he lost his breath.
Breathe, man. Just breathe.
Two nights before I told him I had a dream, It was about you. You were on a plane and it crashed. Don't worry, nobody ever accused me of having psychic abilities.
Nice, nice, he says. Then he chuckles and I figure you have to breathe to chuckle.
That is mean, I hear in my other ear. Why don't you tell him that statistically he is more likely to be killed in an automobile accident?
In his thirty-three years and millions of air miles don't you think someone has mentioned that before? Absurdity killed by logic? I'll talk about the auto accidents when he comes back and has to drive his work commute.
You are so mean.
Yeah, yeah. Okay. Whatever. He is my brother. He knows what we are doing.
It is silly and absurd but no more than all his fears ever were. He was the boy who detested we lived on a hill and calmed himself with maps of escaping tornadoes he would explain during a heavy wind. The others would attempt to ease him, pat him on the head but I would tell him, You might as well go with us. If we are all blown away then you will be left alone.
Maybe sometimes you have to stand up real high and look down. Feel the fear come up through your toes, lose your breath, allow your head to spin, extend your arms out to balance your soul. Regain your sight. It is the only thing that ever truly helped me.
I was in the very rear corner of a van with strangers in a state five over when the fear finally began to suffocate. A family of five sang kumbaya. I had not had a cigarette in three days. I looked to my left through a window I wanted to break. The breathing became shallow then stopped and my heart began to thump my chest. I am trapped, my brain screamed inside my head. The scream took over, my fists clinched, my foot began to tap. Fear was all that was left until finally a tiny voice within me began to smile, an evil little smirk, Silly silly girl. You are not trapped or maybe you are. Go ahead scream, shut those people up. Tell them to stop this van and run. Run.
I blinked, looked out that window again and reminded myself to breathe, laughed as I pictured myself running through a landscape five states over, darting behind the cactus hoping they wouldn't find me. Oh how funny that would be.
Surely it is not that we have fears it must be what we do with them. Can't we just laugh at ourselves sometimes?
Public service announcement: Laughter promotes breathing.
And so does gratitude.