In late June, I met a boy in a field. I was lying in the grass, wearing a red scarf draped over my face, and when he arrived, I lifted the veil. We sat a safe distance from each other without wearing our shoes. We talked easily, about life, about quarantine, about marriage and divorce and religion.

Was he a boy or a man? I’m not sure. I guess I’ll determine that if I ever talk to him again.

I knew through my studies as a healer, an energy worker, and a writer who meditates regularly, that big energetic shifts were happening in the country and the world during Covid. People were being forced to surrender in ways they hadn’t before. Those who’d convinced themselves of certainty and grounding in life, through jobs, or money, or other forms of security, had to accept that all any of us ever has is each day as it comes, that life brings with it no guarantees.

I was made aware of this reality several years ago, when I lost a beloved job, got pregnant with my third child, and experienced the dissolution of my marriage. Everything changed for me then, in a very good way. And then, a year or two later, everything changed again, for the worse. I am now, only recently, above ground, which means I live with the knowledge that the ground has never been outside of me, but inside of me all along.

I suppose I shared some of this knowledge with the man-boy as we sat and talked. Then he asked to kiss me, and then, a week later, we went out again and made love.

Our fling went the way so many flings go. He was in a different space than I was, he said. So one Saturday, I told him “Good luck,” and hung up the phone.

The difference this time was that something big got triggered in our distance. I have often unwittingly absorbed the energy of paramours when they are far from me, and his energy was surprisingly militaristic, exacting, intense. Something powerful was moving through me, to get at him. It was beyond both of us, and above, too, and below earth, and in tune with everything. I was texting him deadlines, sharing spiritual philosophy and romantic yearnings. No ego was involved.

I said a lot of weird shit to him. He didn’t respond.

I was feeling heat in my body, in my feet and hands. I slept less and meditated more. I seemed to be in a new dimension, the 5th dimension quantum physicists talk about, though my wildness, my perspicacity, my intuitive knowing was jarring to the people around me.

My friend, a shaman, finally came over. She brought a band of healers. We banged drums and drank oils. I said things I will not repeat. And then, finally, this “thing”—whatever it was—was expelled from me, and my friends stood around, holding parts of my body in their hands. The spell, the blessing, had passed, and I was me again, peaceful, empty, able to rest. I envisioned the man-boy being healed. Something had changed. None of it made sense. It was very real.

Days passed, and I found my grounding again. I wrote in my journal. I made weird, artistic videos. I yearned for nourishment, and to understand. I wanted to get away from my apartment, to breathe, and I was waiting for the money to help me go.

In July, I wrote on the back of a notebook page, “Adirondacks,” without ever having considered it before.

The money arrived, and I booked my trip. On a Wednesday in August, I drove the six hours from Philadelphia, prayed that I could leave behind the last few months of quarantine like a placenta buried in the ground, find freedom and respite while trekking through the wilderness.

I hiked. I drank coffee. I ate at restaurants. I met people.

My last day, I sat by a lake and cried. I lay face-down in the grass so I could feel the earth while sun glistened beside me on the water.

I thought about illusion, about pain, about frailty. I acknowledged the way life moves in cycles, through processes of letting things go.

I said hello to the mountains. I said goodbye. I started new.

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