Be Here Now

Be here now.

I stand in the dark by the sluggish creek, listening to the bullfrogs and the cicadas singing their rusty songs. Slip out of my shoes and root my toes into the dry Texas soil. This isn't where I want to be. I miss my mountains, my wide sky, my clean cold air, my nights lit with improbable light. But I am here now. I close my eyes in the 90-degree heat, breathe in the smell of hot scrub and the live-oak tree arching overhead. It's the same tree I climbed a few months back when the creek was in flood, to rescue my neighbor's cat. She moved out, that neighbor, while I was gone; I didn't get to say goodbye.

Now be here.

People move on. The trees, and the creek in its limestone bed, the fossils and the frogs and the snakes that hunt them--they stay, more or less. The lizard that lived beneath my doorstep seems to have disappeared, but it will be replaced. Everything and everyone on this wide planet is replaceable, including me. I try to forget that fact, sometimes, but it always resurfaces. Easier to forget when I'm on the move, and that is why I try not to stay. But there is strength in staying. I open my eyes and there is the live-oak, its twisted root gripping dry ground as it has for untold years, and a dry leaf falls to my shoulder. I let it stay.

Here now be.

Tomorrow I will hang my art on public walls for the first time. It is a way of staying, of giving my heart away, that somehow feels more naked than any writing I've ever done. I might as well stand on a street corner and lift my dress over my head, or join a high-wire circus act and tiptoe nude above the audience. What will people say? What will people think? Will they laugh? What if they find me ridiculous? What a strange thing is vulnerability, this animal sense that warns of danger when there is none. And maybe after all we are just animals, trying for shelter, hungry for love and warmth and the comfort of bodies pressed close; the reassurance that Yes, sweetheart, you can stay here. Here is home. Here is your sky, your mountains, your air. Turn around and come back inside; rest your bare feet awhile. Be here now.


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