The Thing I Found In the Woods

“She lives for the written word and people come second or possibly third.”-“Girl Least Likely To.” Morrissey

“I’ve always found I could commit more to a chord progression than I could to any thing of flesh and blood.”-Anna RK

I’m sure if I was blessed/cursed with a nosey mother-figure, at this point they’d be asking, “Why don’t you demand that that boy of yours woo you a little more?” Well, I’m glad you asked faux-ma because this is a chance for another one of my feminism-isms to come to light. As a strong and fully capable young woman, I think that I have an equal right to woo my choice specimen as well as to be “wooed.” Why should guys have all the fun of coming up with the perfect subtle yet wowing display of affection that doesn’t tip the scales into the gross PDA spectacle that I’m witnessing at this very moment? There’s a couple here who are making out with such ferocity that I’m not sure if I would be out of line in offering the dude a condom. Yet, on the other hand, they are a middle-aged couple so I’m tempted to give them a round of applause for the “we aren’t teenagers and we don’t care” mentality they have going on there. At any rate, they also have a very hip art scene presence too with the Warhol haircut and glasses on the woman and the fake Buddy Holly, mismatched lenses and ruthless uncombed mop of her male counterpoint. Only downtown do you see things like this folks. 

Back to my point. I like to show MY male counterpoint that he is valued and worth the witticisms he shares. I can’t exactly share that jerky, semi-painful clutching movement my heart makes when I see an unexpected text on my screen from him (or at least I have no way of knowing if I can). But I can buy my man coffee, and send him small encouragements, and buy lotion of his favorite scent to wear. I’m sure, biologically speaking, we all do this in our attempt to sway a potential mate. So it’s nothing new, but I think women are much less vocal about how they pursue the object of their affections. The expectation is that males are the ones that have to buy flowers and make the plans and pay for the dinner and drive the car. I hope I’m not overwhelming and scaring off my guy by turning the tables on this notion, but so far he seems very content to be petted and pampered.

I finished my sci-fi short story reading last night, and the last story in the book was by Lovecraft and was called “The Colour Out of Space.” Well-written, detailed, and thought-provoking, it made me do a slight run that night as I conquered the darkness between shutting off the light and reaching the bed. I was fully expecting a nightmare of grey and drained corpses to surface in my psyche, but fortunately I instead had the reoccuring car crash dream. Usually, my version of this is that I’m drunk and don’t realize this until I’m behind the wheel. Things quickly spin out of control and I can’t stop the car from crashing, sending me into a coma or death. It’s a bit of an irrational dream because I absolutely do not drive drunk and am very hesitant to drive when I am even slightly fatigued to a degree I feel is unsafe. Last night’s dream was a  bit of a different take on this. I was not addled in any way, but I did have my legs crossed while driving in a way that did not allow me to reach the brake pedal with my foot. I could keep careening down the highway, and could increase my speed and steer, but I couldn’t stop the vehicle, trapped and bound in the tight confines of my own body being too big for the space of the driver’s seat. I struggled to separate my legs and get to the brake pedal but the effort was useless. I crashed, and this time it was a meciful coma I succumbed too that erased all my panic.  

If you are one for dream interpretation, maybe you can tell me what’s going on in this big brain. Please psychoanalyze me. I’m pretty sure I need it. While you are at it, maybe you can speak to the fact that I have these spans of time where I go for months and months without remembrance of a single dream I have had, and then I remember one and it goes back to my dreamless state. This week alone I have dreamed every night and have been able to remember a dream or even two from each night. I think it means something good, but I’m not sure what. Could it be the minimum 1,500 words I am forcing myself to churn out every day this month? If so, this is a habit I could get behind. Because I think I draw so much inspiration from dreams and get a certain perspective on the thoughts I must be thinking that supress themselves until I’m unable to fight them off, locked inside my sleep cycle. 

Now that the preliminary gib-gab is over, I’ll get to my lead material that I have purposely buried far inside this blog for purposes of my own understanding. I’m not a huge exercise person, but I decided to get up early and go for a walk today. I decided to wear my navy capri yoga pants and my black Joy Division tee. I pulled my hair, quite long these days although I’ve promised it a haircut for several weeks now, into a bun. I set out my door, and down the stairs that lead behind my apartment complex to a small wooded area between where I live and the Wal-Mart. 

As I pushed through the branches and left the gravel path of the apartment complex trail, I disappeared into the winter-browned grass and thick presence of trees. Walking along, I heard the cars on the highway, distant and infrequent in the early morning air, and I watched my breath rise up like I was puffing on a cigarette. I can remember that fascination as a child when the weather would turn cold enough to transform my invisible life force that I’d created somewhere deep down within me into something real that I could see for just a moment, before it disappeared into the rest of the invisible world of air and sound. It’s rare that I give that kind of thing a thought these days. I don’t know if it’s because the novelty has worn off, I’m harder to impress with small wonderous things, or I’ve got too much adult thoughts swimming around to do me any good. 

The wood between my home and  the commercial retail giant functions as primarily a place for discarded things. Weaving in between the trees, I came across a road weary and chewed rubber tire, filled with murky water and pine needles. The usual rubbish was there too: discarded PBR cans from teenagers that had taken to the transition wood to accelerate their maturity; cigarette butts crowded into a pile under an impressive Oak where they had been used up and tossed away; and wrappers from fast food products, still shining with lingering spots of grease. But amongst all these things, I looked and studied for something valuable, unrecognized or unappreciated for what it truly was and what potential was in a cast aside thing. 

There is a tiny stream that you have to cross before reaching the Wal-Mart on the other side of the wood, and I decided to cross it today because I kept feeling a tug of sorts upon me as I walked, to just walk a little further with my eyes on the ground. I was searching for something, but I wasn’t sure what it looked like. As I took my shoes off and plunged my feet into the icy November water of the trickling stream, I knew immediately I had found my prize. I didn’t even have to take a step before I felt my toe connect with something hard that only slightly gave as my foot pressed against it. I bent and scooped up a handful of mud and silt from the water. Rolling this in my palm, the muddy residue fell from a tiny plastic ring. I returned to my side of the water’s edge, sat down in the grass there, and began to turn my find over in my fingers. 

The ring is no great prize on the surface. It probably came from a machine they keep in the grocery store, where two quarters can buy a child this “jewelry”. Scraping the mud from it and rinsing it again in the water its colors came out as striped black and white on this plastic trinket. I put my shoes and socks back on and put this newly reborn object on my ring finger, snug but a strange type of fitting. I find myself quite attached to this thing I’ve discovered. Even though it holds no value to anyone, I imagine it has worth to me because of the route I had to take to find it and its mysterious past that brought it to me against (or with?) all the trappings of fate.

In laymen’s terms, I found a plastic ring and I like it a lot. In metaphorical terms, I found a very cool human being who has been overlooked by life and in the hustle and bustle from living and shopping/surviving and I like him a lot because he’s got a mystery and a finding that is against all odds. Once I discoered him, I couldn’t imagine how I had overlooked such a unique object, black and white, plain and fantastic, all in one. And I’m ok with just sharing my dreams with him and waiting to see what happens as the world turns and we bump into each other again and again.

Apologies if the prose got a little too purple for your vision, but I think it was a neccessity today. It’s hard for me to really commit to a human or thing that is real and has the feels that I feel. Concepts and stirring music is easy to get behind, but playing for a team that has the unpredictable element of human nature is one I’m still struggling with. At least on this one, I’ve got a good story of the discovery, and we all know how much I like to tell a good story.

-Anna R. Kotopple 


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