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War and Peace

On the morning the war began, we got two kittens. Brothers, who had spent the entirety of their six-months of life as strays, living underneath a man’s porch.

We walked into the shelter and there they were – caged up – but still together. In those first moments of meeting them, they told us all we needed to know about who they were. One, anxious and rambunctious, who fled the cage as soon as it was opened, seeking an escape; the other, small and peaceful, who carefully watched his brother searching, but knew there was no way out.

I felt guilty as I packed them both into a box, listening to their meows on the car ride home. I knew there was a better life waiting for them. But they would just have to see it for themselves.

It only took a few days before they trusted us fully. How beautiful, I thought, to live a life of hardship and still be so willing to trust.

On the evening the war broke out, one of my best friends had her heart broken. Seven and a half years worth of partnership and a whole life built together, blasted apart within a few hours and a handful of sentences.

I find myself more disappointed in the world than not these days.

For years I’ve put my thoughts down onto these pages; feeling like I was urging some unknown reader to corroborate my existential anxiety. “Hello?” I’ve been writing into the abyss. “Can’t you see that we’re running out of time?” With each new headline and policy I sense that the world has accelerated towards the very future that my 22 year old self feared.

After the breakup, my friend buys a plane ticket to Belize. No time to waste. Enough time has already been spent searching for her partner’s answers. Now she’s off to find her own.

A few months later, we meet her in Mexico. Sun-soaked and glowing, she welcomes us into this new life she’s found. A community of nomads and travelers, who spend their days working on rooftops by the pool; their nights eating tacos off the streets and dancing on the beach.

It’s there that I tap back into that part of me that I’ve been missing over the long winter. The fire. The movement. The heat.

They say that as you age you have to keep searching for youth. And, as I dance with the ocean at my back, I feel my smile spread easily across my face. I watch the women around me sway and twirl, captivating the onlookers. The divine feminine in its true power. I feel, for the first time in a long time, unfiltered joy. No qualifiers. Just happiness. I look over at my heartbroken friend. See her radiate. And I realize that she’s not broken, she’s becoming.

Sometimes it feels so big, and yet, life can also feel so very simple.

They say that spring is the best time to be in Colorado. When the breeze is cool and the sun just begins to warm the soil. But this spring swooped in on fierce gusts of wind and heat waves. Fire, it seems, doesn’t just come with a season, it finds opportunity.

Kyle brings me coffee in bed every morning, and those first few minutes of the day are often my favorite. So routine. So straightforward. I open the blinds and let the sunlight wash into our home. The cats, who aren’t allowed in the bedroom overnight, pounce onto the comforter with glee, circling and then settling into yet another few hours of sleep. There was a moment in time when I would have rolled my eyes at this domestic life, but after 29 years of searching for excitement, I often find the most genuine satisfaction in the smaller things.

The way the seeds I’ve been sowing for spring have sprouted – tiny, green shoots – reminding me that life is always beginning.

Today, the day I turn 29, the rain falls freely from the sky for the first time in months. Usually, I like to feel the sun on my skin on my birthday; feel my toes step upon the hard, warm earth. But this year, I welcome the rain. It feels like a blessing, to watch the water seep into the parched earth.

I wonder, idly, how life can be so tragically painful and so heart-wrenchingly beautiful all at the same time.

The kittens, meanwhile, unaware of the strife of the world, pounce on each other one minute and snuggle up to each other the next. For them, war and peace live as one.


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