I’m laying in the grass and I feel small, it looms over me almost like a forest tunnel. Blades waving high overhead. And I turn my head and it is a deep and never-ending spaghetti maze of every shade of green, and there are tiny ants and beetles and slow moving slugs traveling every highway overpass. I heard once that there are more living organisms in one square foot of grass than there are humans on the entire earth. Or maybe it was an acre? Or a mile? Either way, even though I’m covering so many of them, their backs against my back, I still feel so small. Spiders or grass tickle my legs and the dirt is cold and cleansing between my toes and fingers.
I pick up a bunch of it. The dirt wedges underneath my fingernails—and I let it go on my stomach, letting each gradual sprinkle down individually. My stomach rises and falls. The outer edges of the dirt hill avalanche down, back to earth.
There is the tiniest hint of a mystery raindrop, with blue peeking through the dapples above me. I can’t see the cloud but I know it must be there. It has to be, right? I felt it!
I breathe in and breathe out again.
Where is death’s sting? It’s right here in my sternum, contracting my chest. I feel like I am way too big for my body, maybe too big for this universe, certainly too small to handle this pain.
Once when I was little I heard that men’s brains were like waffles and women’s were like spaghetti. Compartmentalization or trailblazing. I feel like my brain is just in piles and knots, and my timeline keeps looping back on itself.
I am five. I’m eating chicken and waffles and you would think that the flavor wouldn’t make sense, but it does, a mother hen on a bed of hay—do they even get hay nowadays?—wandering in fear if the darkness will overtake her, so she keeps driving and pushing towards that greener pasture, just one more bend, just one more and then the light will split open and spill upon everything and then all the shadows will wash away. And then she’ll fly away, oh glory.
And yet, why does the pain taste so good? I look back and forward and it’s everywhere—sometimes I’m convinced I could make it go away if I forgot hard enough, but I’m afraid I don’t actually want that. It’s the forgetting that terrifies me.
The rain is starting to fall harder now. Maybe it’s God trying to bury me, but I watch as the beetles continue. Some hide for a moment, some dodge in between drops, and some ignore it, ploughing on through anyways. Now which one of them has the spaghetti brain? And which one has the chicken and waffles? And do any consider why they’re dependent?
I trust that the earth will keep its back against my back, us bracing together.