Yesterday, I felt the world resting on my shoulders and was unable to shake the feeling of melancholy, depression and the inactivity of life surrounding myself. Yesterday, I said goodbye to the closest person I know and walked out the front door with nothing in my pockets, no identification and with a plan unlike any other I had concocted.
The plan was simple.
Walk to the river and place my hands and face into its freezing cold glacial ice waters then proceed to awakening.
To get to the waters edge you had to traverse a 300m hill nearly straight down through a plethora of trees and shrubbery. I walked the ridge line looking for a clear path. One perhaps that someone else had already created. There were a few. But those paths only made their way into the thicket of brush and not to the waters edge.
I retreated back to the ridge line to look for an alternate route.
After a few hours of investigation, I finally found a path running down the hill. The decent was dark and cold yet a feeling of relief sat over my body as I had descended out of the bitter wind atop of the hill. As I wandered down past the poplar and pine trees surrounding the path way I came across what appeared to be a life-size teddy bear. Its disheveled state reminding me of how I was feeling.
Beat up and lost in a world that I have discarded.
In a previous time period I lived without many people in my life. It was the early years of adolescences. Until I found the bond of being social through sports and parties. Then the sports were discarded and the parties raged on.
Reflecting back on that time period, I was sauced every single night and never realized then that I should have reached out for help with my failing lifestyle. I was inducted into a phase of life around the age of 18. This new phase of life lead me to large indoor gatherings at nightclubs and bars.
Soon a change in life would send me away to college and away from the nightclubs and socialites to which I had grown accustom to. A few years into college and the extracurriculars were getting in the way of my university studies. I was dismissed from college.
Shortly thereafter, I returned to my hometown long enough to transfer myself to the Pacific Northwest. Here I found a clan of well seasoned people. I began to thrive in the new environment. Then one day a call came in so devastating that it threw me into a dark depression for months.
During this time period I contemplate suicide on several occasions. The mix of feelings, loss and depression circled my being, day and night. I was unable to cope with what was going on around me. Work began to slide, studies began to slip and friendships were tossed aside. All these actions lead me to a roof top in the middle of the night. I was tired of being alone and lost inside my own thoughts. I stood on the edge of a five storey building waiting for the wind to push me off its ledge and down onto the concrete below.
The winds never picked up.
I shuddered standing on the precipice.
Days later, I could still feel the edge of the roof beneath my feet and contemplated why.
Why I did not go over the edge? Why I was depressed? Why I had not been able to cope with these emotions? Why there was no one to talk to about the hole growing inside my chest?
Years later, I would talk about that moment on the edge of the roof top and why I was unable to thrust myself off of it instead of waiting for the wind. Depression does funny things to people.
Thousands of moons later.
I’m standing on that precipice. This time it is not about some other loss which has placed me on the rooftop edge. This time it is my own civil prison that I have built around me.
How did I get here?
I stare out the window at a group of teenagers playing basketball and reminisce about the days growing up with friends. A large group of friends and I, playing basketball in the park on warm summer days in our early twenties. How times have changed. We all live in different cities across North America. And I contemplate what happened to my “tribe”?
Standing at the window, I realize there is an awful way to reunite with some of those past friends and that’s to go down to the river and place my face in the extremely cold waters. To reconnect with the years gone by. The decisions which have led me to today.
House clothes removed, I pull on a pair of jeans and a hoody.
“Good-bye,” I say to my wife in a very soft tone as I exit the bedroom. She stops what she is doing as she can sense something is amiss. “Where are you going?” I’m unable to explain where I am going and or what I am about to do. I’m at the precipice and just want her to know that I have always loved her. The tears are streaming down my face. She follows me to the front door. Tears streaming down her face, she’s explaining that my family and hers loves me. She doesn’t understand what has happened. And I’m unable to explain myself.
“Good-bye,” I repeat. Its the last words I can muster before exiting the doorway. Her actions cannot stop my procession to the waters edge. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to reincarnate myself. I need this resurrection as I’m fully aware that my being feels empty, lost and depressed.
I’ve come all this way in life and…
The number of close friends can be counted on less than one hand.
Closeness exudes my being as I walk out across the park headed for the streets which will lead me to the path of darkness where a disheveled life-size teddy bear will stop me in my tracks. I feel for this disheveled bear bringing it to my chest. Its smell is awful. Its tender wet limbs inform its been here a while. I think about my path being impeded by an object unlike any other. Its a symbol for both where I was at earlier today and where I was headed.
Its dirty limbs, disgusting smell and matted hair informs me this is how they will find my own body in the river. I will be unidentifiable just like this lifeless teddy bear. They will have to identify me from my label. The prints on the ends of my fingers. The cruelty to this bear compares to the cruelty I have spun inside my own self. The bear did not do this but society and the lack of community did.
This dawns on my being.
You need to find a new community and a new society. Its out there waiting for you. You need to muster up the courage to face the world you built around yourself and you must encourage yourself to stand tall.
I stand and thank the disheveled teddy bear.
I stand and walk down the hill to the waters edge.
This time my purpose at the edge of the water has changed. I no longer wish to submerge myself into the waters but I still must touch it. I must know the sense of this extremely icy cold sensation to keep it inside me, to know of its existence and understand I was at the precipice.
Climbing back up out of the ravine for which I had descended, I see the disheveled teddy bear. He looks at me and I at him. We speak, figuratively. He listens as do I. Neither of us is ready to give up just yet. We rise out of the valley together.
At the top, disheveled teddy asks to remain near the ravine to continue fulfilling his duties of healing lost souls from a terrible ending. I thank the disheveled teddy bear for our time together and wish him well in his continued service.
Unsure which way to go I turn and wander down the path.
A thousand meters onward I spot a black cast iron bench overlooking the river for which I had just placed my hands and face into. I sit and watch the cars drift across the highway going north and south. From here one can see chunks of ice floating down the extremely cold river. To the south the river winds right then left and disappears under a very tall trestle bridge. Below the trestles another roadway crosses the waters edge. And below the auto bridge you can see a park where geese will surely land on the visible pond. From here you can also see industrialization in the forms of agriculture, mining and refinery. Stacks burning-off oil like torches on the horizon.
The cold of the cast iron finally aches the shiver in my hands to awaken.
I stand because there is a journey that I must make.
I must return home resurrected from this journey to the rivers edge and move onward with learning how to find my new community and learn from this journey and the wise disheveled teddy bear who has reawakened my inner soul.