This morning, I could not sleep.
That’s not true. I chose not to sleep. Found myself not-sleeping. I read my old blogs from Africa and for the first time in years—maybe ever—I missed it. I felt the moments in my bones. I find it odd that as I should be dreading this leave-taking, I suddenly miss the last one, two years late.
I lay in bed and watched the sky go dawn violet. I craved sensation. I craved a moment of significance. I suddenly remembered my only way of worshiping things. What my mother taught me on sleepless mornings. I got dressed and left, chasing the sun.
This is the hour beloved by birds. I followed the campus’s hillside to the rock slope by the water tower. Up and up. When I finally crested the hill, the sun was with me, peeking over the mountains, scarlet and hesitant the way it always is at the beginning and the end.
I am sitting with the wild things. I have been caught up in the lives of humans. So unstill. So untextured. The rocks are cool and granular. I do not know how they got that way. The crows are making clever noises to my right. The chickadees are chattering, and somewhere there’s a turkey chuckling gently at his wives. There’s so much motion in the trees that it’s confusing—the squirrels are so busy. All the voices and crackles and breeze. The sun rises. The rosy light turns green.
Without routine, I stumble. In the months after Africa, I was choking and confused, trying hard to wrestle out of a four-month break in my routine. But routine has swept me here so fast, I’ve forgotten what I’m missing. I worked my track into the ground hard enough that my vision’s tunneled. I have not worshiped many moments. I have not followed any sunrise.
I think of the people I love. All of them are comforting and known and here. I forget to treat their hands like sunrise. In two more days, the smile will be gone. Our particular, snarky humor. The way our group always rolled as one. We must have alarmed strangers. We were cohesive and odd. We are. We’ve grown like caught vines. We belong in the grooves we’ve worn for each other. I love them.
The scatter is coming. It’s practically here. My life here will end and we’ll part in directions. When will I notice? When will it hit me? Every day ends by the warmth of their eyes. My ridiculous tribe. You who made me.
The whole sun is up now and normal is here. I’ll go back to my room and I’ll sleep. In two days, I leave. This ends. We end. The leaving sinks in to my bones.