Ashley Wilda

Author

Month: March 2017

My Something

It’s the end of the movie, and the scene cuts all the way back to the beginning, where the boy and the girl spend their first day together. I’ve seen the movie, I know they end up together, at least in a way; I know how they feel about each other, I know how it ends. But all I can think, when I see them laughing and running in the tall wild grass up on that windy hill, is this–this is the beginning of their something.

Until now, I never quite understood what my friend said, all the way on a little island in the middle of the ocean, just two kids enjoying being wild and free and navigating the world all on our own, reveling in the little mistakes and trip ups we made along the way. She said that labels are overrated–what’s the point of labeling a relationship as something, when it is what it is anyway? Good communication she said, that’s what’s important. Ah, I said, nodding. Yes, I see. That makes sense. But it didn’t really. Two people either were something solid and particular or they weren’t… I didn’t see the point of avoiding clarification. It felt dangerous otherwise, communication or not.

But now–I’ve got my own something. It’s amazing and wild and precious and magical and sweet and gentle and messy and oh so darn hard and even more comfortable. It’s belonging and giggles and a bit fragile and determination. It’s living and warm and always changing yet always somehow the same. It’s a person. It’s something that began when I didn’t even know it was beginning and when I wasn’t even expecting it and now I just don’t want to even imagine myself without it and I don’t even know what that would be like and yet at the same time I do know and it’s too awful to think about yet I know that we’d be okay at the same time, somehow, someway, even though it doesn’t feel like that–and gosh darn it, all I know is that this something is part of my heart and I don’t want to lose it.

The boy and the girl in this movie–their something inspired me. They didn’t try to label it. Yes, it was messy and even dangerous–they definitely should have defined it more, contained it more. But in some ways, their ‘we’ reminded me of our ‘us.’ They were best friends, and something more. They were together, and yet not. But they always fought for each other, even through the years, and in the end, their something ended up working out, even if it wasn’t in the way they thought it would. They just remained dedicated to their something, without thinking too hard about what it should be, and just focused on what was. What is. They focused on “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today.” Gosh I’m trying… I’m trying not to squeeze the darn life out of today because I’m terrified of tomorrow. I have to remember that today is good, and just live in it and be ridiculously joyful in it, without breaking all my rules somehow. I have to make as many beautiful and bright memories as I can without being painfully conscious of the fact that I’m making them, that one day they will just be memories–tomorrow in fact. But today, today, today–gosh, Jesus, I am so thankful I have today. Help me live it right.

“Listen, listen. Nothing truly good was ever easy,” the boy said to the girl. Listen, listen, I’m listening. I’ll try to walk it out, balance the curb, toes pointed, eyes straight ahead, feeling my way through the bumps and dips, alive to the world… focusing on the person holding my hand, keeping me balanced. Focusing on that grip, not worrying about when it will let go of me, and when he does, whether we will ever hold tight to each other again.

When we hugged back in November, I didn’t realize that it was the beginning of my something. That the moment would change my next year and even my very self forever. I didn’t realize ‘we’ would become so much a part of my vocabulary and my way of thinking. I didn’t realize that I’d finally have a something. And as crazy and hard and scary and beautiful and wondrous as it is–I want to thank you. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you for being just that–my something. And I am so so grateful, that we have today to live it.

Compromise

how silly we are

how silly we two

we can’t bear

this gap

for long

if I cannot touch you

it’s like I cannot

be myself

and for you

it is the same

and so we meet

in the middle

and it’s so much easier

to breathe

despite knowing we can only

go so far

but it’s easier to stand

toes to the line

than look from far off

at you

on the other

side

Balance Me

We ditched our shoes at the edge of the forest

Grass crunching and rustling softly beneath our toes

The wind caressed warm and sweet

And the stars shone bright and proud over the low undulating hills

We tumbled down the slopes, laughing hysterically

And twirled and spun like youth drunk on moonlight

Or love

And tickled each other into quiet piles of wonder and heavy breathing

We stared in happy awe at the silver-punctuated blue-black sky

And hid huddled close from the man with the flashlight

Close and thrillingly wild, nervous in the dark

We leaped onto the bridge, warm and wooden warped

The creek rushing low and far below

And tentatively stepped onto the rails

Considering

Then reaching out a hand, certain

That neither could walk this path alone

Nor would ever want to.

And They Had All This in Common

We piled into the vans on a cold, grey Saturday morning, friends and strangers alike, most having no idea of the journey ahead of us. Some of us expected to come back changed, and others of us did not–but West Virginia was about to work her untamed magic on us regardless.

Slumber filled car rides turned to noses plastered to chilly windows as the miles wheeled by, passengers staring quietly at the blue mountainscape that scudded past. The road wound up and down, sideways and through, over and dipping softly beneath, depositing us deep into the heart of the wild and wonderful… into a scraggle of unloved houses with flaking white paint and sagging porches.

The community center of BCPIA became our home for the first half of the week–the sprawling hallways covered in children’s scrawled names and the artwork of pondering volunteers of years past and the quirky warmth of mismatched armchairs and cramped bunk rooms welcomed us in. Sounds of pattering feet skipping through the halls and coal-black footprints in the showers began to add to the layers of memories that richen the air and dust the baseboards along with the buzzing bodies of millions of ladybugs. Three-hour chicken pot pie pans and nighttime tea adventures added to the flavor and rhythm of living life with twenty-two other human beings, sleeping in the same room, eating off the same dishes, and hearing the same stories of love and betrayal from folk with the lilt of the mountains humming in their speech.

From learning about Joel’s hydroponics, losing ourselves in Marsha’s time-machine stories by the lake, or dancing the night away to Chester’s rollicking music, we immersed ourselves deeper into the land and culture the people of Appalachia hold so dear. We piled onto mattresses in front of a VCR and an old boxy TV and cried for the plight of a small boy with dreams brighter and higher than the mines as we watched October Sky and rose the next morning to blast away pieces of concrete stairs with a sledgehammer, all feeling like mini Thor’s.

As the days accumulated, the exhaustion built. Eyelids grew heavy and heads dropped to friends’ shoulders. Unplanned naps became almost planned for, and appetites burgeoned as blankets and raincoats became constant companions to shield against wind and storm. Yet even as hearts grew wiser and heavier with knowledge, and minds became chock full of information and calculation, and hearts stretched further with all the emotion they could carry, laughter and mischief still glimmered in eyes and echoed around the halls, and the night was full of sneaking footsteps on creaking stairs and the snores and exasperated giggles of a new family, bonded together through an experience that had never been expected, and some never thought they’d have.

 

Waiting for Your Spring

Waiting.

Waiting for you is like waiting for a flower to bloom.

I know that some just don’t in the end,

That the frost just nips too hard at good, growing, colorful things

But I just refuse to believe

That it’s true

For you.

Because I’ve seen you,

And I know you,

Arguably better than most people

Ever do.

You’re kind, and smart, and brave,

And oh so many other good things,

All the things that will help you

Bloom

But you’re not yet sure

That you believe in Spring.

But I do, oh gosh darn it I do I do I do

And I can’t see how,

If you’re looking

If you’re feeling

If you’re thinking

That someday It won’t find you

Too.

It’s everywhere, It’s all around

It wants to wake you up,

And so do you.

You want It to be real too.

Because if It is real,

So many other things can be.

I. Hate. Waiting.

I’m notoriously bad

At waiting for things to grow.

I want to be their sun,

Their rain,

Their everything

And just fix all that is wrong and dormant and yearning

And seeking.

But I can’t.

I am not Spring.

I am only a fellow flower

That has awakened to It’s warm touch.

And now

I can only hope

That it will fix you too.

You tell me not to wait.

Not because you don’t want me to

But you want me to be free

And happy

And are scared that Spring won’t come.

But my bones know It will

With a deep peace and dedication

Called love

That I cannot shake.

And so I will grow with you

Barely touching

Waiting

To see you soon.

Falling into Love

When I write about love, it’s a complicated thing.

I’m not talking about a crush, or a fleeting friendship or obsession… I’m talking about love. Whether romantic love or friendship love or family love. Just love.

It’s hard. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. It’s darn complicated. It’s so so good. It can take you to towers of happiness or holes of sadness. Often it does both.

Falling in love… what is that even? ‘Falling’ is accurate… one day you’re walking along, and then you’re suddenly moving faster and you’re not sure why, and then you accelerate and accelerate without even trying until all of a sudden you realize you’re falling, falling toward something that reaches out to catch you, but all the same you’re afraid that you’ll miss it. How do you even know you’re falling in love? How do you know you’re not just falling? Or that you’re even moving at all? What I think–you don’t. You don’t know. You don’t know until you’ve been caught and everything is okay and the world is right and the sun is brighter than you’ve ever seen it. So when you’re falling, tumbling through the air with a dropping feeling in your stomach that’s equal parts excitement and fear, you just have to shut your eyes tight and hope that a certain someone will be there to catch you. Falling into love would be a better phrase. Yes, that’s it. Falling into love.

So much of love is trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the person waiting to catch you. Trust in Jesus. No matter the situation, this is true. But the more complicated it is, the more this is true. The more trust is needed, in greater measure and fiercer strength. A simultaneous holding onto someone tighter than you ever have held anything before and also an uncurling of the fingers, an opening of the fists, palms flat and open, saying I trust that this good thing won’t run away from me. A trust that this whole crazy thing is going to work out, somehow, someway.

Yet an even crazier realization–you can hurt someone through love, even mutual love, sometimes especially through mutual love. When there’s something between you, love can push you harder and harder into that wall until you feel the hard diamond cold impressed on your skin and aching deep within your bones. Yet I’d much rather be hurt by love than not have it, the belonging and home and warmth and reassurance and hope and just pure joy it brings. And any wall can be moved. Any wall. No matter how freaking tall or wide or hard or dark it is… as long as you can still feel the person on the other side, you can break through or climb over or tunnel under. Don’t stop believing that, even for a second. Never ever ever. Because that’s what makes us human, that what makes life worth living–that will to fight for love and keep on loving no matter the cost. That’s what love truly is–determination to belong with someone no matter what, just because they are them and you are you. What a simple, blazing strong, most wonderful thing. What a thing to call mine, home, a flame in my heart to keep me burning all my days.

Jesus, give me the wisdom to love the right way. Jesus, give me the bravery to follow hard after the truth. Jesus, give me strength even when it hurts. Jesus, help me trust that you’re the God of miracles.

i feel like a tree in spring

branches reaching, stretching

budding

golden sap running through my veins

new

spring

green

bursting from my fingertips

joy               life               fragrance

happy peace in my roots

cool water bringing laughter

sun breeze in my hair

other branches entwining

homily

with mine

blue sky bits

filling all my spaces

fork cradling a place

for friends to simply be

held

in all the ways

they never

were

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