I don’t consider myself a poet in the least, but wrote this about a year ago for a writing group exercise. We had a random list of five words and needed to connect them through verse. I’m including this piece as a marker for where I was emotionally as I began my journey of rediscovery, even though a year ago I was well into wrestling with my decision and actions. Sometimes, we know a lot more about our reality than we allow our conscious selves to recognize.
Features chiseled, framework fading,
crumbling steel not always so strong.
This is no imitation of failure, it is real.
The root pulling from inside, dragging it all down.
There is no saving what had been built.
Time has passed, it is not the same.
Windows climb higher, but reveal nothing new.
We theorize the value of preserving an essence,
clinging to its history.
But there are new beams that need constructing,
new stories to add.
Sometimes we must allow one to fall so that another may rise.
The old has lost its time.
It begs us to renew it while tearing itself apart.
None could feel safe in this shell.
So I wait and hope it does not fall in on me.
One of the lasting details I took from Driver’s Ed class is that teenagers often get more tickets because they forget to check their mirrors. Not that they drive particularly faster than others or more dangerously. It’s that they do the same things we all do, but lack a necessary level of awareness.
Over time we pick up knowledge of the tricks – the placement of speed traps and end-of-the-month quotas. We learn from experience and try to pay more attention to what is around us so that we may move forward in a style that’s to our liking.
As I work through a transition of my own, a time in which I wish I could speed ahead, I’m realizing how valuable it is to look in my mirrors every once in a while. It is important to see when that which was far behind me catches up to my tail. To not make any sudden moves before considering the circumstances in my new lane. And that sometimes, when we’ve checked the state of our surroundings, to know it’s truly okay to take a risk.
We’ve all come from somewhere. Driving down the road does not erase the road. It wears our tires and burns our gas, and it also takes us further along the route.
But unlike our car’s mirrors, much of what we’ll see in the reflection is ourselves. It’s the chance to rediscover the part of us we worry might have been left behind at our last destination. We have to turn the engine over and keep traveling. We must continue our adventures. Because sometimes, a ticket is simply a reminder to do better the next time.