Sometimes while driving alone through the empty mountain roads, the weight of the world sits heavy in my chest and it hurts to breathe. Naked trees shiver in the wind. Leaves unlatch and write in silent cursive across my windshield. Their tongue is the sacred, hidden language of the earth.
There’s an old story about a boy and his dog. It does not have a happy ending, this story of the boy and his dog, but that doesn’t mean the story, up until the end, is not a happy one.
Sometimes while driving I think about this story, and that the leaves whispering across my windshield tell the story of the boy and his dog in the hidden, sacred language of the earth. Sometimes, the leaves remind me of what I cannot always remember.
The boy and his dog lived a full life, their companionship unmatched. From youthful days of mischief on the family farm, to days quiet by the fire, neither imagined a life without the other.
Sometimes I imagine my car taking flight at the top of a hill, before the road dips into a valley, and I sail up into the gentle sky, into the clouds, where light refracts against my skin and I become something more than a driver on a road alone through the empty mountain roads.
One day, the boy heard a knock on the door and the dog barked. The boy opened and found Death beckoning forward. The boy shrank in fear. The dog did not, and so Death took the dog.
Sometimes, when the sacred, hidden language of the earth whispers in my ear, I try to listen, and when I do, the world sits heavy in my chest.
For all of the tears he cried, the boy thought back on the life of the dog and laughed at the adventures they had, the mischief of running barefoot through the farm, of rolling in the mud and jumping into the lake. I’m not telling it right, but it’s quite a funny story up until the end.
Sometimes while driving through empty roads where naked trees shiver against the breeze, I try to remember what it feels like to laugh.
When the man is old and his own children have grown, there is another knock and Death takes him into the vast unknown where he has forgotten about his childhood dog. That is the sad part, that we move on from our once loves and replace them with different ones.
Sometimes while driving and the world sits heavy in my chest, I step on the gas in hopes that just over this next hill, the car will lift off the ground and sail into the air, and I will understand the unraveling freedom of release.