Personal Undergrowth

They ask, “Do you see the forest, or the trees?” and I look up. I blink, maybe, once or twice. I try to process what it is, exactly, that I’ve been asked. I must look stupid to them, because they attempt to explain.

“It’s like a metaphor—”

And at that point, I just can’t let it continue.

“First of all, it’s an idiom. It’s not ‘like’ a metaphor, because that would be a simile. And there are no forests where I live. Not many trees, either, because can you really count palms? I mean, Jesus.”

Technically, I’m Jewish, but I’ve spent so much time around people my own age that it’s less ‘religious figure’ and more ‘surprise’, ‘appreciation’, ‘exasperation’, ‘why the hell would you wear that top with those pants are you blind woman’.

Sometimes I hyper-focus on the small things, the insignificant things. They have a habit of sneaking up on me, and then one of them must screech, “ATTACK!”, because suddenly the metaphorical ropes come out. For a while, I’m pinned down like Gulliver with tiny panic attacks and concerns for the future skiing off my nose and playing trampoline on my stomach.

But then I stop to think of the future, and I realize that whatever moment I’m in is exceptionally small.

I think it’s foolish to discount all small concerns. We can’t just trample over the everyday, or the short-term. If we do, we run the risk of forgetting people, and that’s unacceptable. In so many cases, we struggle and fight and worry because we care.

You can’t just look a friend in the eye and say, “Well, sorry I stole your blouse, but it’s my color. I’m not giving it back, because I have to wear it when I take over a major corporation and become Forbes’ Iron Bitch of the Century in about twenty years.”

We disregard too much.

We let other people do too much to influence us.

So I have a to-do list a mile long.

I procrastinate.

I decide to read for pleasure instead, and then I realize that I haven’t

enjoyed my time at all. I’ve been too busy worrying about the mile-long to-do list.

It’s all very unfortunate.

So I like to eke out time for me when it’s not terribly inadvisable.

I like to pull out a hula hoop and use it as a loom. I like to take a water bottle and make a snowglobe. I like to sit down with a distant acquaintance and make a friend.

I suppose, if we’re staying with forests and trees, that one might say I excel at forming the occasional clearing.

We’re having a babbling brook put in next Thursday.

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