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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

310 Days

Its been 310 days since my story was forever altered. Which means in 55 days I will hit the one year mark. ONE.YEAR. Time flies when your having fun? More like time flies when your playing 2020 hunger games style...apparently this weekend brings two hurricanes to the gulf of Mexico at once. Perhaps I should be grateful we live in the mountains, non-volcanic mountains. However, today's fun fact; the Commonwealth of Virginia has quite the history with volcanic activity. Its been a few million years or so, however, if you've seen Catoctin greenstone in the SNP, you've seen ingenous lava flows. And that is the extent of any outdoorsy Commonwealth knowledge I possess.

Why I have chosen to provide a brief geologic lesson today is not due to some odd fascination. When you picture volcanic eruptions you may visualize a science fair project gone wrong, Hawaii, perhaps your old enough to remember Mount St. Helens. While I have never personally witnessed the violent eruption of a volcano,I've seen plenty of natgeo programming. That cacophony of thoughts; awe and excitement mixed with empathetic concern and fear. You can't not watch. Was this a sudden event such as the White Island Volcano or did media sit wait for the big show as they did in 1980 with Mount St. Helens. Did an earthquake start the process? Did steam slowly escape for months as the pressure underneath collected.....simply brewing until the conditions were no longer sustainable.

It took 308 days for me to reach unsustainable conditions. I am officially on the positive side of things. I have successfully (for the most part) navigated more days post eruption. And in 55 days, it will be one year. When a volcano erupts there is no forgiveness for who or what lies in the path. The slow, viscous, all encompassing flow of magma will swallow you whole. It will also burn anyone who touches it. Permanent scars.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “.... 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” The pain can flow from memory to memory. The pain caused in friendships. The pain caused within. The pain caused in family. Experiencing the pain of the memory isn't always a negative. It can cause you to reflect, highlight where you have been, reinforce that you don't want to go back. It is though pain is the only way I am ever going to achieve 20/20 vision. I can't dwell on the shoulda, woulda, coulda. I would not be at day 310 if I did. I am also learning that I can't rush things. That there is no magic wand to bippity bobbidy boo my way to the land of unicorn and rainbows. My six year old lives there and I pray that my experience provides me the resources to teach her to stay on that island. If the only thing I take away from the past 310 days is the ability to keep even one person from the journey I have traveled; then I suppose it was worth it. At times I still feel as though I walk around with a scarlet letter. A past that will forever haunt me. A past that if I was ten years younger would perhaps be slightly more acceptable. A past that forever remind me of the mistakes I made.

Whether you are a Stephen King fan or not the excerpt below from his novel, Misery, resonated with me. Not in the sense that I am blogging my little heart out these days but from way to create art from the eruption.

“Writers remember everything...especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he'll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”

This scar I hold close to my soul is most definitely a novel. My journey through the chaos and despair. My education on how to harness these experiences into constructive teachable moments. A scar the vividly reminds me how I forgot to cope. A reminder that a four little word like cope holds more meaning than I ever realized. How a lack four letters lead to my demise.

My point is not to be dramatic in all of this. In general I have never really been one to be open and share. Been honest with individuals and myself on how I feel. What I think.

In 55 days I will be ringing in a new year. It will no longer be the year of firsts. I mean it will still be 2020 so there is that. But it will be a new year. A positive progression. A space in which to be honest. A space to decide the next step. If this whole experience has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t take those steps for granted. It doesn’t take much for that steam to rebuild and the lava to flow.

So, I walk and keep adding steps. Hoping that those who choose to walk beside me allow me the grace to feel a little bit harder and process a little bit longer. Anxiety and depression are a bitch. Two faceless enemies who will not have the last laugh.

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