Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Gypsy Heart

All my life I have retreated inside myself whenever things started bothering me. People used to remark about how quiet and well-mannered I was. And although it was true that my mother raised me to be a lady, I was mostly subdued due to the fact that I was quietly brooding, not to mention extremely shy.

I made excellent grades in school and liked to read and learn, but I hated going. I remember daydreaming out the windows, wondering what the world was like outside those walls. I remember feeling out of place and trapped. And when summer came I was like a prisoner on parole. I would spend hours reading books and writing in my journal--and sometimes I would take my sketch book and pencils and sit and draw. I don't know if I really preferred to be alone, or it was just that I didn't know anyone else like me. I had a few close friends in school, but I was never outgoing and popular. And for the most part, that was okay by me.

But my favorite pasttime was trailriding. My sisters and I would take the ponies out and roam the fields and woods near home, and it seemed that all your troubles would just vanish for awhile. Especially if you were racing full speed against each other to see whose mount was the fastest. Your troubles tended to fade away with the laughter. There was always the temptation to go farther than before. And I must admit, there were times when the temptation was strong, to just keep riding and never look back.

I suppose that's why my gypsy heart is fighting that urge to run these days, because being a grown up means handling the unpleasantries. It means being responsible, tackling the tough problems, finding ways to survive. It means backing your ears and plowing on through the weeds and tough, hard soil. Sometimes it means sacrificial giving or compromising to keep the peace. And sometimes you just get tired of being the grown up. Sometimes you just want to be selfish and take off for worlds unknown and leave the tough stuff to someone else.

The only problem with that is that somehow your troubles end up following you or new ones find you when you get there. Sometimes the greener grass turns out to be a mirage that has manifested itself to you at a time when your thirsty soul wanted desperately to find a fountain to quench your thirst. And you arrive there only to find that the barstools are all filled with others just like you, sipping strong drink from fancy glasses with little paper umbrellas, drowning their sorrows and finding solace in the bartender's jokes. And the bartender just keeps doling out what they ask for, but it's never enough, because the heat of the great wide desert still lies before them when they leave, just waiting to swallow them whole.

And so you retreat to the only place that's left, into the corners of your mind, because you can make all things as they should be. All is calm and beautiful. No one ever gets old or suffers or dies. Everyone loves each other and gets along. You never make mistakes or utter words you can't take back. You can paint all the colors the way they should be, and they never end up running together in a mottled mess, or worse, fading from the page altogether. You don't have to explain yourself or your feelings. You're free. Free to race wildly in the wind again with nothing holding you back. And the world that lies ahead is evergreen, filled to overflowing with bright summer daylillies and endless honeysuckle nights.


Sista Cala said...

I like the gypsy red you have added. Looks good.

Dawn said...

You do indeed have the gift of putting words together well! I hope your novel is published someday and I get to read it.

I wanted you to know that Kevin and I have finished Chapter 9 and they're both posted. It has been quite the journey - but it is the beginning, not the end.

Saija said...

my heart was a gypsy heart at one time too ...

loved the way your pen evoked feelings and gave sight to my eyes ...

Lisa said...

Enjoyed your post.

Sometimes we need to get our own hearts and mind right before we can express ourselves the way we want to others.

I try to pray & think hard about conflicting anyone on a particular issue, but have a harder time with accomplishing this with teenagers and adult children :) Sometimes I like to go to a place not to different than your own and picture myself a little girl twirling about in a field of green.

Keep writing!

Plain Forgiven said...

Hi Cynthia,

Loved this post. I'm still very much a gypsy at heart (explains my constant travels abroad), and I guess I'll be wandering for life. :-) But I'm loving it because life always throws up surprises.

Here's wishing you'll always "travel" to new places and experience delightful things. :-)