I‘m writing this on the heels of last week’s blog HERE, the one dealing with depression. It’s not better. Just came in from a walk to find my sister telling everyone how I’m anti-social. No, I’m depressed. And that’s what’s making me anti-social, Doc. But that’s okay. Because I just saw something.
I needed to get out of the house with its constant Apple talk and distractions. We’re way up here in the North Carolina nowheres, miles from anything, surrounded by deep mountains and gauche McMansions. Clouds were rolling over the ridgelines. Rain was coming in sheets. Didn’t matter. It was time for a walk.
Started hiking out under a bright blue umbrella and instantly felt better. Without a group, there were no panting stops or chitchat. I did my usual mile and then carried it upwards to the higher golf course loop, the rain pattering off the umbrella, the wind stirring the trees, the stillness broken only by the occasionally rushing FUV. Just a balming peace.
Was on the long downslope for home, trading in all that hardwon potential energy into kinetic when I saw her. A doe, standing by the roadside opposite only 100 feet further. I stopped. She stopped, looking up from the grasses she was picking through, ears and watery eyes rotating around to appraise me. I stood silent and still, watching. Then, carefully, I stepped back a dozen feet or so and hunched down, my umbrella folded and placed on the glistening asphalt, as un-gunlike as possible. And I just sat and watched.
She stepped out onto the road like a fearful ballerina, watching me but taking all her surroundings in, scanning, watchful, so very, very careful. A third of the way across, now astride the line, her reflection playing across the gleaming road like a lake.
I was struck with the absolute clarity of the moment, the writer’s attention to beauty and detail. I watched the smooth play of the muscles across her flanks, the faint click of her hooves on the road, the pure and rapturous purity of the moment. No hunter’s eagerness. No suburban’s desire to pet and interact. No, I just hunched and watched and her beauty come into me, a moment of absolute peace.
I just ran beauty through my thesaurus and found no equal to the experiance. It just was what it was, more perfect that cars, politics, television shows, relations, conversations, a story, a thought. It just was. But soon enough, another FUV was descending the hills behind me, its low-gear growl breaching the shielding pines. She gave me a last slow look and with easy deliberance stepped across the gravel runoff, sliding into the wet foliage and instantly gone.
And I stood, reflecting as the car buffeted past, thinking of that moment. If depression is the curse of writers, seeing beauty in its fleeting moments is its grace.
I’m not cured. It isn’t that easy. But that really helped.