I can’t let this chains theme go, the way to freedom. My 31 Days turned into maybe a lifetime, which is good because October is over, and I didn’t actually write on chains for 31 days. The things I’m uncovering are changing me. The following post here is from one of my favorite girlfriends of all time, Dear Abby Leigh, who’s walked with me so well. Please soak in her words a little and then show her all the love in the world.
i’m fourteen when i cut my finger on the swing in evening, by the growing row of pines dividing neighbors.
baby sister swings alongside, chubby legs dangling far from grass. i play it carefree, hair dragging in dirt, count minutes to dinner, wrap my legs ’round the chains to make her giggle.
it works, like it should. we are bound here together by the bar above and the name in our veins, linked by fate and proximity and eyelashes.
blood rushes to my head.
i pull up, feel the pinch, slice my finger on the cracking rubber cover tight around the chains. rubber crafted in primary brights keeps the surface right shiny while the metal beneath rusts
wet tennessee heat seeps in where it can, doing its good work of breaking down chains. the blood i leave blends well with the red and the rust.
covered chains hold the weight of us all, not a foot off the ground, carving just enough swing-space to make us feel free. at the tip of each arc, gravity halts, and we can taste it – flight, unbound, within reach.
but it’s always snapped away, as a violent whiplash of the soul swings you back where you started and then some. freedom is chained by the limits of knowledge – gravity, sight, experience remembered.
the window for jumping is in that blink of false flight, when freedom feels just within reach. no timidity will do, you must fall from the heights, let the chains seek new captives, heads deep in the dirt, while you find freedom’s footing unhindered.
i mix metaphors to say what i’m not sure i know. i try to lean into truth where it’s heavy enough to hold me. it’s a hard and conscious work to remove the covers on my chains – the way i posture to make acceptable the things that keep me swinging in the same space day after day. i let the moment to jump pass me by once again, a sister scared to fall – it’s too soon then too late then too hard.
what’s binding me here, hair caked with dirt?
what freedom is possible at the end of that leap?
may the heat of my breath on its way to the heavens eat away at the covers on my chains, cutting me free, one link at a time, from the back and forth and back again.