Below the Surface

Here’s what has happened in the last six months.  My children grew up and moved away.  I was separated and then divorced. I quit my job. I drove a thousand miles to begin a new life.

Now that you’re caught up, we can move on. 

The pressure is off. I can rest. I have enough to eat and a place to sleep.  I’m surrounded by lush vegetation, beaches, and cultures rich with music, history, and art.  Best of all, I have someone new who loves me. For the first time in years, I have quiet and freedom to think and write my thoughts.  It’s time to release the muse so they can fan the flames of my creativity. 

Except….  I’ve got nothing.

Well, that’s not exactly true.  I’ve got a headache. 

And my ears ring.  My heart pounds. My stomach churns right along with the emotions that have yet to settle.  My friends say it will take some time.

Whatever.  I intend to start my new life even if I stumble a little at the beginning. 

Perhaps it’s ironic that in the midst of this tropical land, my brain feels as empty as the plains of West Texas, where the land is dull, brown and flat.  

Yet having grown up in that barren land, I know that West Texas has more to it than one might realize.  Tough mesquite bushes hold fast, never giving in to the elements.  Huddled in their shade are jackrabbits, deer, armadillos, coyotes, and skunks. Underneath bleached rocks are snakes, centipedes, and scorpions. Dig down a few feet into the soil and you find a diminishing water table.  Dig further down and you could strike oil. Overhead, the sun burns hot and the wind is dry, sometimes kicking up huge whirlwinds that we call dust devils.  Angry storms occasionally lash out with lightning, hail, and tornadoes, but most days you can look up to see the endless blue sky.  At dusk, the sun exits with a splash of colors. Then night takes over and the sky fills up with a billion stars and galaxies. 

Maybe it’s not so empty inside of me, either.  When I take a moment to look behind the dull headache, I can see that my stubborn passions remain. There are still memories, music, tears, hunger, love, friendships, hatred, laughter, loneliness, sexuality, and scorn. 

Is there any courage left?  Maybe.

What about spirituality?  We’ll see.

8 thoughts on “Below the Surface

  1. David you've tapped into your courage hugely in the last year and done well for yourself. Those same resources are with you now. But you're tired my friend, and the spirit needs time to rest and recoup. Patience is needed. Be gentle with yourself. I know that isn't easy for the tough Texan, but if there was ever a time for self kindness, I think this would be it!



  2. Not all those who wander are lost…so says the prophet whose work spawned the blockbusters. I think at least some wandering (whether it be inward or actually foot in front of foot) is the act of seeking deliverance. Foot by foot, you have found deliverance physically – you took a chance and let our heart open and you found love, and it is beautiful….now, you seek the same spiritually, of course. Rest. Be free in the wilderness of your thoughts. Rebel. Smoke pot if necessary (kidding, I think) Let your spirit off the leash and follow it with reckless abandon and write down where you go.


  3. Thanks, Debbie. It really does feel like I'm inching a long, but I'll take what I can get. Weed sounds intriguing. Reckless abandon? Okay, but I'll have to think that over carefully ;).


  4. “Maybe it's not so empty inside of me, either.” –It isn't.
    “…any courage left?” — Oh God yes. More than you've ever known.
    “What about spirituality?” No doubt in my mind. History is full of great men who go through desert experiences. Try to think of a single one who didn't.
    (By the way, this is best description of West Texas I've ever seen, a place I love as much as you do.)


  5. Hi Mark. I didn't see this comment until just now. As always, thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I think of the great men who had their empty times… We've spoken of that before.


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