A moment resurfaces every now and again when I find myself walking in a large courtyard. It is open yet secluded; its tiles are sun withered with hairs of grass sprouting effortlessly between its aging lines. Columns reside at all corners; each uniquely concealed with enfolding emerald green ivy. The time is always evening, and the chirping of crickets becomes almost deafening. There is a wooden bridge that leads to a tall wall; vines and brush cover its base. Alongside the courtyard is a stream; crystal clear in spots, cloudy in others. It captivates me every time I glare into its abyss. My eyes follow the waters gentle course; memories of my past start to appear. These memories are painful to see again, they are filled with all of my fears, tears, arguments, losses, broken expectations, and broken hearts.  In a panicked attempt, I quickly submerge my hands into the stream and twirl the memories into a twisted painting of myself. Unaffected by my rattled actions, the swirl of images slowly start to fuse back together.  I watch my memories pass by over and over again, piercing into my soul. I start to chase them down the stream, feeling overwhelmed by their numbers. Which one do I catch first? They are all equally painful.

As I proceed to follow my watercolor flashbacks, I realize that I have been running in circles around the courtyard. When I feel like I have finally caught up to the first watercolor; I am standing in the place I started. Confused and now frustrated, I scoop my hands into the water in attempts to capture my memories,thus somehow ridding the stream from this pollution. Successfully, time and time again I watch the colors bleed through my fingers back into the subtle streams flow; still…nothing.

My images intertwine once again looking unaffected, and still religiously flowing along the stream that surrounds my courtyard. I start to feel isolated and barricaded. I stare at my reflection for a long time, watching my face stay…unchanged.

It is not until I see a bird’s reflection dart across the water, and soon after two more. I follow their path of flight to a stone bird bath in the center of the courtyard. There are two small birds and one quite larger. The larger bird is fearlessly flapping her wings in the bath, occasionally taking the water in with her beak. The other two are still perched on the statues edge, looking hesitant and rather skeptical of this newly found treasure. The larger bird slowly encourages the other two to follow her lead. First the feet, the legs, and finally…she submerges herself completely, allowing the cool water to wash over her feathers. I watch intently, they look so peaceful and serene.

Then it dawns on me, if they can why can’t I? I turn back towards the stream, close my eyes, and jump in head first. My first thought was how deep the stream was, my second thought was how incredibly warm it felt. In an instant, all my memories, all the images, all the pain…and lastly all the experiences suddenly started to cling to me; cling to me as if I was a magnet. I let them absorb into me, and as I lifted myself out of the stream I felt heavy. I dragged myself over to the bridge, managed to remove a layer of clothing, and looked down at the waters passing under me. They started to run dry, and the streams floor was starting to be visible. I glanced over to the bird bath and realized that it too was now bone dry.
It was in that moment that I understood that the stream needed my memories, it was the make-up of this place. I took a layer of clothing and gently started to ring it out into the water. Slowly, I started to see my memories mold back together. One by one, each drop of water fell from me. With each twist and turn of my cloth, I inhaled then exhaled, and decided it was a memory that I was ACCEPTING and was willing of LETTING GO, thus releasing them back into the water. The pieces were and will always be a part of me, for this courtyard and it beauty would not exist without them. As I watched my memories flow underneath me and the bridge, an overwhelming sense of clam surrounded me. I glanced over to where the wall once stood only to see a fresh opening before me. I walked towards the opening, with no fear of looking back.

 

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