The Gift Of Living In This Moment

Today, I wake up weary, my mind worn down by the monotony of these days. The quiet of the empty house is palpable. I am so drained trying to soak up human contact through a screen; it’s like living off a diet consisting only of salty crisps—addictive, but it leaves me thirsty and malnourished. Yet still, when I wake, I roll over and the first thing I reach for is my phone, hoping that this time the blue light will bring something different, always yearning for more when it doesn’t come. A fool’s game.

I force myself out of bed and my brain gets to work planning every second of the day. Frustration strikes when I don’t have the energy to make it through the interminable list. The one thing I haven’t scheduled any time for is feeling. Stillness. I decide that I will sit down with a mug of warm tea by the window for a moment.

With vacant eyes, I observe the trees dancing in the wind. I find it difficult to focus and eventually notice that I am scrolling through my phone again. I even lift the phone, point the camera at the trees, and watch the rhythmic sway of the leaves through the screen. It feels like a bite-size version of living. Putting the phone away, I stare out the window once more, this time paying attention. When the wind picks up speed, the leaves are hurled along with it. They come together, clapping feverishly like a cheering crowd. It reminds me of living.

I watch, mesmerized, as leaves break free from their branches and cascade to the ground. I study the grooves in the bark on the trunks of the trees that stand so strong in contrast with the flailing leaves. A cluster of knots next to a bulge in one of the trees looks like a face—a set of bewildered eyes, a pointy nose, and a mouth turned up at the corners. My face mirrors the tree with a soft smile. I have finally arrived.

I pay attention to the weight of my thighs against the spongy leather chair. The soft ground cradling my feet as they rest. The steady rhythm of my breath. How my chest expands as the air fills my lungs. As I allow my body to feel whatever it wants to feel, my cheeks become wet. I feel a lightness as the tears spill down my face and soak into my skin.

What a gift it is to be here in this moment. To be alive and well and safely sheltered somewhere I can call home. What a gift it is to feel. To allow myself the opportunity to acknowledge the aching in my heart and release some of the tension. To breathe in new energy and settle my mind. What a gift it is to watch the trees.

Queer poet / sculptor / writer based in London @meganprestonelliott

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