Where do I start?

The wind was fierce, the numbers said mph and kmh and wind chill was in degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit, but the leaves rushed out together, waving clumps and arms and voices that cried out in joy. The trees were creaking, orange pine needles carpeting the ground and we walked for a bit, barefoot. The trees had a tone, singing out, and I was cold and I held myself in and tugged my jacket tighter around myself.

We walked, and we sat in a gazebo, apart. We were friends in pure sisterly-brotherly love, feeling the wind on our cheeks and in our bones. The trees would come and go, rushing in and out, swirling in circles and tangles when they were in retreat and waiting. There was a lamp. A white lamp enclosed in a giant green tree that was hugging it, surrounding it with waves of translucent green warmth, and light shadows would dance on my face and in my eye while she sat with her back to it, looking into the gray autumn sky and off into the distance.

The wind would rush in sometimes, swirling into the center, raindrops in a thunderstorm. Looking out through the windshield as raindrops swirled into the center of my vision. The wind was visible, streaks and strands of clear air twisting into us.

You plunge, and you clutch yourself tighter and it hurts until your car comes to a complete stop. Then you learn how to let go. I learned when I was fifteen. Then you become free, dipping down ahead, along the tracks and wishing to fly. It's cold, and you hold yourself in more strongly and it hurts until you run away into the warmth. Let go, and you are the cold, smiling and walking with it inside you, embodied within. I opened my arms and let the wind fly.

I clutch words tightly around myself.

When she appears I brake up and wind myself up tight. I need to let go. Isn't it Ironic, I said, and she smiled and and yelled over the roaring branches, "What isn't?" I needed to talk to her about her. I was living then with the wind in my arms. I needed something, but then I stopped in mid-tongue and realized that it would be alright. It would be alright, alright if I died now, if a giant atomic nuclear hydrogen bomb came and blew us all up, blink, gone. I would be stuck calling her on the second syllable of her name, tottering on the tip as thousands of picoseconds would pass by, and it would strike, turning me into fine ashes, and it would still be alright. The foam pellets that become animals and flowers when soaked in water. Let lives go in a petri dish and see where they go. I was content.

My eyes blurred because there was so much wind and so much beauty in all of this. It was beautiful because it was so bitingly cold, it was beautiful because somewhere out there some other person would be dying of the same cold and ebbing away to be found cold and brittle tomorrow morning. It was beautiful in all the cruelty that had converged at this single point. It was beautiful because some would be looking at these leaves from a crackling fire and jazz tunes from expensive speakers, and it was beautiful because, for a moment, I could look from above and see all the lives and the houses that lined the streets and the lights on and off and the warm beating hearts and the cold flickering lights crisscrossed in a giant suburban urban country rural populated multifaceted grid that would never untangle. The trees were whispering loudly, "stop to listen. live and cry." I was listening. I was crying.

The sky was perfect, dotted with gray and dark blue. We walked back in silence. I said goodbye without looking back, because I knew she would understand. Arms outstretched and head back, walking with arms out, to encapsulate all of this suffering and pleasure and pain and joy in a single hug, to embrace it, to love it. I wanted to shout loudly and hug everyone. It's going to be all right. For a moment, I was Mother Earth, Father Time, I was everything, in the smallest blade of grass and the highest tops of a mountain, my pores, my life.

I opened my eyes and walked home, looking at the sky.

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