Chasing Lightning

It was darker than black last night as I drove home from the hospital, soaking up the memories in the car that was his and is now mine, the car we took up to mammoth and beyond, the car of beach trips, the car of everywhere.  I tried not to think about it, instead losing myself in the rumble of the engine and thunder in the distance.  

I chased lightning, all the way home.  I've never seen it like that, flash after flash after flash, like a thousand cameras all going off in speed one after another.  I could see the gnarled shapes, each of them, above the lake and the sleepy little towns as I drove past.

But I didn't drive past.  The lightning kept moving east and north with me as I made my way out of street lights and into them, then out of them again to the dusty roads where I first learned to drive.  They were still there when I parked and got out of my car, coming down now without sound and without rain when I threw my arms around my sweet boy for the first time in what seemed like decades, the hours numbering in years.

Grad school feels like that, it feels like chasing lightning.  There's a danger to it as I shake out my piggy bank, electricity humming in the air.  The possibilities number like the stars I can't see, of people and words and connections I could make, of the book I need to write and bring to the world, a ten year old promise I have yet to fulfill.  I've listened to the opinions of everyone I've asked and everyone I haven't.  I've categorized the worst case scenarios and put them in the box by my bed, constant reminders of the ways I can fail.

But what if I don't?  What if I've struck my lightning and live?  Set on fire and glorious for the first time.  I don't know if I can turn off the car, if I can turn down another road less perilous and less full of light.  

Years ago a man I know packed up his family and moved to the sun and the sand, wishing on horses and desperate for a change, praying that everything would work out the way he planned.  Years ago a man I know stood on his land for the first time, dreaming a better future for his children and his children's children.  Years ago a man I knew set out on a desert road with his young wife to build his family with his hands as he studied the green and she studied the ways of the world.  I see them all now and it all seems so easy, like perhaps the danger never existed.  But I've seen the mirror tainted by the light, I've seen the scars on the world and I know there might be error in my ways.  

These are my dreams.  Am I brave enough to live them?

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