i get lost a lot. i am good at many things, but none are related to direction. these days, sign posts on trails sometimes have QR codes on them. i think about that a lot. after us, will aliens find these little shapes and say - this was religious.
in 50 years, will QR codes be completely out-of-date, so young kids are used to seeing the shape but just assume it means something else; like how floppy discs mean save. looking up at us with their brows knit. what do you mean you had to scan it?
i think a lot about how if i had been born even 50 years ago, i'd be dead by now. there are a lot of reasons for that. i can read a map pretty well, but that sense-of-direction thing will really getcha. i usually wayfind by pulling up my phone's compass. there's something so odd about that - about using something like a smartphone to figure out my cardinal direction. to figure out which way is home.
for a long time, i didn't have a smart phone. whenever we went to places that required a QR code, i'd just have to shift uncomfortably, waiting for someone else's page to load. not to sound like an old grump but - these days it feels like half my world is behind scan this or register with your email to sign-in or sign up for our listing or click the link.
i think a lot about the digital detritus we leave behind. about how different the world looks, literally, than in the 90's. how much waste has become things like laptops, chargers, wires. i think about the drones over city; flying in the shape of an advertisement. i think about graves. my grandmother's had a trademark on it.
in the middle of the woods, someone had put up a jesus is risen laminated poster. it had an underwater turtle on it, which i thought was funny. i took a picture for my group chat. he rises from the deep i guess i send them. the signpost was unhelpful - inconclusive arrow, jesus turtle poster. no map. i pulled up my compass, which is to say i took out my phone.
i wonder how much is waste we're making and how much is just making our mark. at some point, all my writing - this post and all the others - will be left, floating around on the internet. it will all outlive everyone who created any of it. every fic and overly-personal recipe and idle drawing and abandoned webcomic and sanctimonious twitter post.
i hope they are all living in the same place. i hope they get along. i hope they never feel alone.
i hope somewhere out there on the internet, someone or something finds something i left and says - oh. so that's how i get home.
for a while now, you've seen the little flashes in the corner of your vision. the river that only goes down. you thought you'd walked far enough towards the horizon, the river and the waste and the waterfall were supposed to be way behind you. isn't that what you told everyone? i'm better now, you said, sheepish at the admission you'd ever been worse. didn't you say i'm working on it. and true - haven't you been working on it?
but the water is in your ears these days. second heartbeat. you're tired in the wrong way. the way you flinch from, in sunnier times. the kind of tired that wraps hands around your throat. weights in your occipital lobe. nothing is worth doing anymore; even things you used to love. it's not quite jaded, not quite bored. more that... there's nothing for you anymore. it's all flat. a room with no door.
you've been in the cascade before. you've been in the slip. your fingers grappling for the shore. the way you've held on, over and over, gasping for breath, nose barely above the water.
you know, somehow, this is going to be a hard fall, when the falling comes. it's probably worrying that you're not afraid of it anymore. that you don't quite mind the thrall. that it does seem easier to let go. of course, it would be bad if you jumped in, but ... you cant quite seem to remember why you've been avoiding that for so long. were you worried about something? were you protecting something? what was even the point of all that fighting? rapids are quiet when you sink far enough under.
you say - i just don't feel well anymore. there's not really a word for it. you'll get up and keep going and hope the livesaver holds. but one of these days, you know you'll wake up - and it will all be water. and down, again, (again) you will go.
Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, Stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.