Sessions from the Balcony: Love’s Prose

Give it a name and call this something. Call this a process, call it a journey or call this whatever you choose. Or, better yet, keep it simple and just call this life. And suddenly, here we are connected by a force that is greater than anything any of us could possibly understand. The world is nothing more than a story that continues to unfold. And be advised, the future is still unwritten. It always is and always will be.

Either way, you live and you learn, and you move and you go. You find yourself in a thousand different positions and experiencing a million types of circumstances. You grow up from a seedling to a sapling. The next stage in this process is the emergence of the stem of life ⁠— and maybe you sprout a few leaves or you begin to bud before you blossom and flower. This is the process for the tree of life. The last stage is when the tree is fully grown and reaches the final stage of maturity. And this is us, no?

Always growing until our very last breath. Maybe this is why so many of us are afraid to grow up sometimes. We’re afraid of the next stage or to let go of the stage before. Yet somehow, deny what we will, nothing we do and no place we hide will ever stop this trip, which is both eventual and inevitable.

So you rise and fall and you wonder and you hope. You’re curious to know if maybe there is a point to all of this.
At least, God, please, we hope there is.
Maybe this is all just a dream. Maybe this is all a lesson or maybe this is preparation for the next stages of existence.
Maybe this is only a test and, someday, life will reveal itself and at last, this crazy maze of ours will all make sense. 

Look back. Look at where we came from.
Can you see this?
Call it the nights that we all remember. Call this a compilation of memory. Call this a night out with friends and it’s 5:00 in the morning at the diner. Everyone is there. Call this a recap of the night before and there we are, all of us laughing about a girl at the bar that threw a Kamikaze in my face.
Call this a memory over a cheeseburger deluxe with a huge order of fries and a bowl of extra pickles and coleslaw at the diner.
Call this the farewell split when life took on a new shape and the goodbyes we never thought would come were the goodbyes we shared in a parking lot after a wedding.
Call this whatever you choose. But me, I suppose I’ll just call this my 20’s. I call this my life. I call this a journey in which I was always looking for something.

I often regard the mornings of my deepest and toughest times. I think about the way sunrise would change the face of the sky. I wondered about my dreams and hopes that hopefully someday, my life would find me soon. I hoped that somehow, this would all make sense.

I would see others with their life and wonder if life came easier for them. I would think and shake my head. Sometimes I’d shake my fists at the sky and other times I’d defy myself and defy the world. I’d look with contempt and in my defiance, I would turn away because I couldn’t stand to look anymore.

Call this envy. Call this admiration. But me, I call this the curious challenge of a life that had yet to blossom. And you try. You look. You live and you go through the thousand different positions. You reconnect with the different stages of movement and ask yourself, “Is it me?” You see yourself in the mirror and you look around at the way you view life, and you wonder. You wonder about love. You wonder about beauty. You wonder about your purpose and you wonder if there is something out there, just waiting for you to find it, and then you ask yourself, “Is any of this even real?”

No one ever asks the rose how it feels about its thorns. And no one ever asks the trees how they feel about the autumn ⁠— for all we know, if it were up to them, they would appear differently. For all we know, if it were up to the trees there would always be equal parts of sunshine and rain and nothing would ever be unsatisfied. 

There are mornings when the moon sits in the sky to watch the sunrise. There are times when I look up after the sun has taken its place. I see the moon is still there, pitched on an axis, and watching just like me. There are times when I see this from the roof of a building over on Lexington. I drink my coffee. And I take my breaths. I live my life and hope that in the interim, someone somewhere is watching over me. 
(Please watch over me.)

There are times when I could never see the forest for the trees. I never saw my nose after it was cut off to spite my face. There were times when I would wake up and come here to sit with you. And I would wonder if anything would ever make sense.

And then there was love.
There was always love.
And there will always be love.
There will always be this because my love is all I have. 

My love is a drive I’ve taken more times than I can count. It’s a road trip up Route 17 near the town of Ellenville and for a minute, the mountains clear to a valley with a river that runs through it. And suddenly there’s peace. Suddenly, there is something so beautiful; and something so extraordinary ⁠— and this calls to me. This means something to me.
I suppose this is so because this reminds me of you. This reminds me of every feeling you’ve given me since the time I was born, and since before I met you, since after, and ever since I realized this life of mine is always going to be an unfolding story. I am learning more and more that no matter where I go or what I do, there will always be something miraculous that awaits me around the corner. I just need to be on the lookout for this.

Life is often like being a passenger in a car during a long road trip. We’re all here, driving along an extended highway. Some of us run parallel. Some of us turn off at different exits. Some of us have similar destinations and some have different ones.

All I know is wherever I go, I know there will always be you. There will always be something beautiful. There will always be a place in my heart for these memories of mine. And let me put this here in print, just so you know in case you forget ⁠— wherever you go and wherever I am, I know the reasons why my course has led me to here is because this is where I belong. (With you)

I love you ⁠—

Gary Benfield Header - Park West Gallery

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