After a workout Saturday night, I wandered out to the patio.
A part of me was longing for the embrace of a chilly May evening. Rain off and on all day had the air smelling damp with budding blooms. Barefoot against the hard cement of chipped patio stones, I found my way to the brown Adirondack chair positioned against the house.
A baby bunny was perched in a lump of overgrown grass towards the middle of the yard. This was unfriendly territory, but the bunny clearly knew as it watched the back door for an emerging Jack Russell terrier currently in a slumber on the living room couch.
I sat quietly watching the creature as it moved slowly through the rain-soaked blades of grass.
It didn’t belong there.
The leaves on my neighbor’s tall oak tree flipped upwards as a breeze charged through with warnings of more rain—perhaps even a rumble or two of thunder.
As I continued to stare at the bunny, pushing my hair continuously behind my ear as the wind nagged me to return inside, it occurred to me. Perhaps I don’t belong here either.
It is a thought that occurs often—honestly, too often.
Years working towards a future in writing that I never made it to.
Years working under world-renowned authors only to stop.
Years getting better and better at the craft I so loved.
I once wrote essays about Plato’s cave and Faulkner’s misogynistic agenda.
I used to read classic literature for fun and study the linguistics behind dialects.
I used to spend hours in a quiet library reading philosophy and then arguing with professors about the intended meaning.
On the weekends, I would read letters from prisoners to the Appalachian Prison Book Project and send them books in return for their hungry minds.
I edited dissertations and tutored high school students.
I mentored young kids in summer camps.
I fought alongside my peers to be published in whatever journal or magazine would read our stuff.
I dreamed of academia.
Confidence surged through my veins.
Then I made the choice to start a new chapter.
Much like the bunny, I journeyed to new territory.
Here I have found a new self— my old self lost, floating in a roaring Appalachian wind.
There are days here in the Midwest that I find myself longing for the smell of Momma’s purple lilac bushes, the taste of her sweet tea on my tongue, and the hug of the mountains clinging tight around my shoulders. I wonder what life would have looked like had I stayed in the comfort of that home.
Is my home here or there?
Most days, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle—feeling neither there nor here.
It’s like I am hiding between the thick clumps of overgrown grass waiting for the door to open so I might leap onward.
Clouds soon filled the dark sky, covering the stars. The bunny remained in the yard it did not belong, and I wondered how long it would lean on its luck.
Would it dart for the brush pile at the first sound of an opening door?
Would it hide there, waiting for its moment to belong?
What did the bunny have to gain here in my yard?
Why does it stay?