I miss the woods terribly, each day it feels a little more desperate and sometimes I dont know what I am doing with my photography without nature, I feel like I cant perform properly. Still, if I am beset against concrete and heat and oceans of people I atleast have Ryan to focus my creative vision on ; his hands and fingers are easily as elegant as the wind-swept, branch tangled oak moss in civil war cemeteries of the south. His bones and the arch of his limbs as awe-inspiring, heartstopping, and unforgettable as the canopies of wysteria tangling over gazebos and mellow brick walls. His eyes are as blue and as depth-filled and poetry-line driven as the gulf waters lapping at bare feet and, certainly, bring to my mind a recollection of childhood and innocence like the sweep of the tide: he blinks. His arms are home, and they welcome me as fiercely and as unquestionably, like things that have always existed to be possessed by me alone (or so I imagine about his love, my home, Faulkner's south, and other inseparable things to my heart), as any 77' ford pickup parked down red-dirt roads, cranking out a classical, mournful rendition of sweet home alabama. Those arms lace around me, cherishing me, giving me a place to always return, like honeysuckle and magnolia growing unchecked by the hands of man and scenting the air in a way that upon inhaling, you know what you consider home is what you carry with you, and you know it always awaits your return in a thought, in a story, in dreams that even the most dire, mile-heavy distance cannot stop, or dull. Brightly my south beats on in the lemon-yellow light of morning, when sleep still blankets us both, and I can feel both the beating of his heart against my back, now, and the wind against my face at dog river, then. Realities blend. Gripping my brother around his waist on the back of an elephant under big-top circus tents, nights spent kicking my feet against my sister's to sometimes they come back in a surge of adrenaline to be allowed to stay up late to watch horror films, my mother's back as she prepared dinner each night under a swathe of steam ; the smell of southern food that permeated the air and pulled me from play at dusk, signalling the end of the day, homework, then a shower before bed and the cat-calls of my friends as they turned to run home, too, but gave one last yell at me over shoulder as they mounted their rusting bikes, milk crates mounted to the back with rope instead of traditional baskets in the front (maybe it was a poor southern thing).
Ryan holds my hand tightly, some nights, and thanks me for what I gave up to find him, to be with him, and I've felt at times, over the course of this month, that I did give up much. But I feel, sitting here now to the sounds of garbage trucks making morning runs, my fingers draped loosely in his hair as he sleeps, tucking spiral motions into the brown curls, that I have lost nothing that wasnt already a shadow or a ghost or a fading memory that shined more brightly because I knew I was losing it, or had lost it long ago. Those losses, I think, come with minutes and years, they come with growing up, moving on, going forward. There is no moment we can freeze and remain in, no era of ourself that remains static and unchanging (as much as we might wish). With or without Ryan my friends turned their back to me and rode home against the sun in that one perfect moment over a decade ago when I was bare foot in the dirt, with or without him my siblings became estranged, with or without him my mother is dead and I will never find myself romanced inside to yellow lamp light and the sound of the evening news by the smell of her pott roast just as darkness begins to overtake the sky in a display of cotton candy pink and blues and oranges that I feel, after evenings in LA, belong singularly to the south in their spectrum of color and depth.
What I did not lose, however, is the sense of those things. Of good friendships, of loving family, of a place that I was born of and could return to at any time - the sense of acceptance and home that I could return to at any time - that Ryan now provides me. It is when he turns in groggy sleep and holds me tighter out of reflex that everything important exists. That all of the people I have known, places I have loved, geography that I have fancied myself rooted to and born up out of, circles like a kaleidoscope of color, memory, truth - all of which have room to be added upon by each of our days, his and I, so that some years from now, however circumstantial, his heavy breathing in sleep can be dredged up out of my vault of moments, romanticized, held up to the light as something ethereal and perfect.