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Now, In-Between.

A quarantine essay by Blake Blackmon

There is an in-between feeling I'm unable to shake. One foot still in March, one reaching forward and past….something. The election? The disunity? The death? Whether this is hope or desire I’m not sure and I don’t think, at least cognizantly, I’ve ever conflated one for the other. They both hold different connotations and yet meet at the wanting.

By hoping I am wanting something better. By desiring I am wishing for it.

Once again I find myself wedged in the middle of two feelings. I noticed today a medium sized tree in front of the office. The bottom half of its leaves were evergreen with emerald, the top a bruised burgundy. The line between the two colors was stark, not ombre like you might expect, much like the particular line in time we find ourselves, feet straddling rather than firmly planted.

There is a sense of before. The reality is time has always worked this way. Days have always passed and seasons have always bloomed big blue hydrangeas and frosted our window panes overnight. It takes missing, an aching really, to implant in us this sense of before. Before the breakup. Before the loss of a loved one. So many many of us are aching right now. We’ve been split open and are attempting to nurse our own wounds while we watch others hurting and mourning their own befores. I miss small talk. The meaningless conversations I used to avoid. I miss running into friends at art galleries or the theater and talking over a glass of wine about the performance or paintings. I miss collective experience that wasn’t painful. I miss when mouths and hands weren’t weapons.

I know the after will come. Perhaps we won’t even notice it happening, the trees slipping into springtime. The first handshake that doesn’t shake you.

There has always been a we. Now more than ever we feel it. When one part of the we hurts we all do; the country a body bruised and bleeding internally. It is easy to choose ignorance, to push through the pain and act like it’s not there, but this leads to deepened injury. We can only do so much. We can do what helps or what hurts. Beyond politics. Beyond opinion. We are human. We. We. We. We cannot separate ourselves from the shared anxieties, heartbreaks, joy, tears and fears. It’s all so fragile. A leaf crunching under footsteps.

This week has been cold. November came with goosebumps. Perhaps there is comfort to be taken here: a season doing what it is supposed to do. When it gets even colder we can breathe a sigh of relief at the passage of time. Soon trees now golden, some dual toned, will stand bare before us. Even now in the in-between we can put our confidence in such things. ◾️

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