And she saw him approaching, walking along side his bike, coming from around the curve of the trail decked out in black and grey and she thought for a moment what a stark contrast he was from her colorful floral yoga pants and bright red top. The thought was fleeting and she thought it best to make some sort of greeting so she asked “so, how is it back there?”
She was referring to the trail and the rain. The parts she had already walked were saturated. He answered “soooo muddy, it’s so bad, flooded especially after the second bridge”. She nodded and carried on. She didn’t care. It didn’t matter what the trail looked like, she was headed deeper into the woods. Usually the trail lifted her and she found beauty in her surroundings, but today she felt nothing, saw nothing and was vaguely aware of her steps. There was a knot in the pit of her stomach and space in her mind for the first time.
Space. Empty. Numb.
The silence wasn’t silent so she placed headphones in and played one of her favorite songs only to hate the lyrics, and then the melody. Numb. She came to the first bridge and found the feather leaf. It was the strangest thing she had ever seen out on the trail. A single stem growing from the ground holding a single leaf that looked exactly like a silver feather. It was surrounded by the yellow poppy flowers that were all over the preserve and it seemed to weather the rains, the sun, the wind and other hikers. She found herself staring at the feather leaf and wondering why and how it got there. And then the thought occurred that that didn’t matter either and she continued on to the bridge.
Looking out onto the marsh she stopped noticing the lily pads and their white flowers, stopped noticing the egrets flying overhead, stopped noticing the fish swimming just beneath the surface and instead her eyes found trash, garbage, discarded plastic bottles, a single turquois flip flop, wrappers and other debris. And felt nothing. Numb. Normally such a site would have infuriated her, a disgust with humans would have bubbled to the surface and she would have searched for a way to fish the rubbish from the waters…today she stared blankly at it and felt nothing.
She debated heading for the second bridge and decided that she didn’t care to see the rest of the trail and it’s litter along the way. Today she didn’t care about the cicadas singing in the afternoon sun, didn’t care about the clouds overhead blocking out the fragments of light that would sneak out. She just didn’t care about being there, or anywhere.
Her legs felt heavier than usual and she wanted to sit, no she wanted to lay in the grass and be swallowed by the earth. She imagined laying down and having tiny insects crawling up and over her frame until she was contributing to the soil below. She wondered how far down she would need to be carried away not to be found. And this thought was lazy too. This thought took hold and sat there, not moving, not milling around in what would normally be the busy bustling place that was her mind…no, this was the only thought so it had free reign to trickle into synapses and linger.
Today she understood the definition of numb, of no longer having a reaction to anything around her, to not caring about the past, the future or the present. And she decided to stay awhile.