I started talkin’ to trees when I was five. Sometimes catch myself doin’ it now. But I don’t talk out loud, unless I’m alone. Even then, I whisper. But when I was a kid, I’d just stand there and blab on and on. Kept thinkin’ that I’d get a response. And sometimes I would. I remember when I ran out towards a patch of pine. Out in New Mexico. I’d stolen some crystals from an artist that lived up the road from us. She said they were magic. I believed her. Things are easier to believe when you’re a kid. Can I tell you a secret? Swear you won’t say a word? I still believe.
Once, I told my mom I could see her aura. Said it was gold on the outside and bits of purple toward the middle. She was drivin’ me to the barn. She laughed and said, Oh yeah? I said, yeah. And counted birds as we drove.
So I was in New Mexico. Land of Enchantment. And I’d stolen some crystals from the artist down the road. Ran so fast cause I knew a place where I could hide them. An old well up the hill. I got there and looked around. Wasn’t nothin’ but pine trees.
I said, Friends, don’t tell. I got some magic crystals.
But they aren’t yours, they said.
I said, who owns rocks?
So I threw ‘em in. Nothin’ happened. Guess I suspected they’d glow or somethin’.
The herd was movin’ closer. One cow stopped and stared.
I said, I got some crystals.
It just stared. Dumb-like. Cows are quiet. Mostly. Then it ran off.
I said, God, why ain’t they workin?
And you know what happened? A bunch of mountain-flowers started laughin.’
Now I was a kid, so I remember these things. Don’t know if it’s true or not. I know what you’re goin’ to say. The line of impossible crosses the line of possible and all you can dig up are atomic particles. But they dance. You know, if you ain’t lookin, they move like ballerinas. That’s how I describe it. So fast you can’t tell which foot is in front of the other. Until it’s all a blur.
The pines spoke up, too. Said, they ain’t yours. And the wind threw off its raincoat and toppled it onto my head. My mom was callin’ from the porch. The artist lady walked toward the patch of pine.
What are you doin’ she asked.
Oh, found these crystals in the well, I said, look!
She said, if you wanted them, you just had to ask.
I know. But I was a kid, and who owns rocks? So she left.
The cow came back. Stared, dumb-like. Quiet.
The wild mountain-flowers laughed.
I said, What’s my aura look like?
The pines said, Well, black. With specks of silver. Like diamonds.
I could feel it too. Pricks pokin’ right through me.
If you want me, you just have to ask.
Who said that?
I looked around. Wasn’t nobody there but pines and that cow.
But I fell down. I laughed.
Friends, I said. Who said that?
The wind threw off another raincoat. My body started to buzz.
Just ask, it said again.
So I said, OK. OK. I wanna go away now. I don’t wanna be a kid. I don’t wanna be a girl. I don’t wanna be nothin.’
And I tell you what, The wild-flowers laughed. The cow stared in silence and the trees, my Friends, brushed their hair back, woooosh!
The reason I tell you this is that, everyday I say the same thing. I get a whiff of pine and I’m sayin’ the same prayer. And I’m askin’ for the gift to see auras again. And I’m askin’ to be nothin’ and sometimes, I get it.
Sometimes I get thrown back to the ground. Like if you’re really drunk and all you feel is buzzing. Like the whole world is buzzing and you’re the crosswire. Blown open. Where all at once you’re full and lonely. Like you wanna burst into tiny particles and dance around or else punch someone over and over until you’re both bleedin’.
I know what you’re thinkin’. But it’s the truth. One time I felt that way comin’ towards me. Stomach twisted to the back of the spine.
Like a coyote. Or a wild pig.
And it’s grumblin’ and I started screamin’ and it wasn’t me it was that coyote or that pig and all the sudden I wasn’t there. Someone else was. So I ran to the mirror. Sure enough, wasn’t me. I found a knife.
I said, Holy shit. I said. HOLY SHIT.
I had to get at it. And the blood was everywhere.
Someone said, If you want me, you just have to ask.
I said, God, Why isn’t this workin’? Why is nothin’ God-Damn workin?
Anyway, that’s the other side of it. And you know what happened? I fell down. I laughed. I said, Friends? Friends?