I took Effie up to the reservoir. We climbed up loose rocks that painted our shoes pale and rosy with dust. We reached the treeline, where the sweet scent of pine hangs heavy in the crisp air, nostalgic and reminiscent of childhood camping trips. I laid my poncho on the earth, set Effie upon a relatively flat rock and arranged a notebook of watercolor paper, brushes, pencils, paints, a cloth and a tiny mason jar of water against her mountain tabletop. I pulled a Moleskine and pen from my bag and began writing feverishly about dreamy, surreal, idealist, and romantic things. About people who live like characters from classic novels. About the fleeting nature of life. About the overwhelming beauty of a single moment and the awe that holds me in place.
Below, in the reservoir, boats drew white zigzags across the murky surface. On the beach, I watched the back of a woman in a black bikini remove her top and meet her lover in the water. I looked away from them and towards Effie. She had finished her painting and I added it to a slowly growing collection drying on a rock beneath the sun. We stayed there, Effie painting and occasionally wandering through the pines and throwing rocks off the cliff face, me writing, daydreaming and occasionally watching the lovers on the beach.
The blue sky was concealed by clouds as swirling and gray as those that circle a hot cup of tea. The thunder began to growl and as I packed our things and prepared to leave, my gaze wandered once more to the lovers on the beach. Effie threw more pale, rosy rocks and I stopped putting our things away to sit against a tree for a moment and ponder.
At once I felt so small and large, so alone and connected. Loneliness is a funny thing, really. I used to distract myself from it all day and night and finally when I had to face my bed alone, I was agonized by how cold the empty space beside me felt. I met someone recently who told me that he feels the weight of loneliness in the same way. At first, my heart leaped for him as I remembered what it felt like to bear that burden night after night. But, then I realized that I still feel that, I'm still lonely, only better at distracting myself. I no longer chain smoke American Spirits beneath an oak tree or wander from party to party trying to find a stranger to hold and comfort me. I distract myself in different ways now. With motherhood, writing, family, friends, travel, new people, opportunities, and experiences. I still lie in bed alone and watch shadows dance along the ceiling tauntingly while wondering whether I'll ever have someone to love me, hold me, and care for me. I'm still restless, lonely and wandering. I am peaceful and contented in the now. I do fill myself up on dreams, books, poetry, driving aimlessly, rolling joints, gardening, drinking tea, visiting friends, and going into the wild. I'm rooted and I'm whole, but that doesn't mean that I can't still feel restless and lonely. And I am. I'm restless like I could lift from the earth and float away. I'm lonely like it would be okay to let someone be there to catch me someday. And it really would be okay.