I’ve been thinking about green light recently.
I may have written of this before – I’ve written so much in the last few months that it’s hard to remember what all I’ve touched on.
I grew up in the country, in Michigan. My backyard was gravel pits overgrown with weeds and random trees and shrubs. Beyond the gravel pits was woods, and I spent the majority of my summers as a teenager in those woods.
Green light. Sunlight filtered by tree leaves.
I would walk out of our trailer home, nine times out of ten pissed off about something. Teenage angst is a bitch, and take into account I was battling with some inner demon shit that I’ve only as an adult mostly conquered. These demons stemming from my alcoholic parents and having to grow up and be an adult before I even understood the concept. In the late 90s and early 2000’s, it was a discman I stuffed in between my waistband and stomach, baby blue Adidas shorts holding it snuggly in place more often than not. The shirt varied, but always those shorts. My soccer socks covered my legs to the knee, my feet clad also in Adidas thanks to the generosity of a friend. Lord knows we couldn’t afford name brand shit.
Anyway, I would slam out of the house, dad’s music blaring behind me and I would crank my own – DMX or Nelly or Eminem were favorites then, soon to be followed by the angry sounds of Godsmack and Disturbed and Staind. Whatever was in my ears, it was loud.
Bust out of the door, jump off the porch and hit the dirt driveway running. Past the shed on my right and the remnants of woods on my left. It was thick when we moved in but the landlord had slowly been cutting the tree line back and it broke my heart because I’ve always found a certain peace in trees. I would run full throttle because soon, in front of me, the first hill would appear. Not quite a 45 degree incline but damn close it seemed. I would run up it, urging myself forward because I’d be damned if a little old hill was gonna stop me. At the top I slowed down as I rounded a curve, running over the dropped wild raspberries on the path. Then another smaller hill that once I hit the top I had to stop.
Because here, I stood atop what felt like a mountain of loose gravel that was beginning to pack down into a dirt path from dirt bikes being rode over it. I would take my headphones off to listen for said dirt bikes, and if I heard nothing I would put them back on and slip slide on my feet down the mountain. But first, I would take in the view.
I stood as tall as the trees across the field up there, gazing into their green depths of coolness as summer sun scorched my shoulders. A Michigan summer is hot as blazes, often times reaching 100 degrees with the humidity seventy percent. Miserable to adults, heaven to teenage girls trying to escape reality. I would look over a green field that never grew too tall, patches of dirt visible in spots, to the woods, sanctuary from the heat and too far away from the house to hear anyone calling for me. Cell phones weren’t a real thing just yet, only adults carried them and even then it was few and far between. I would gaze at the field and the trees and then slide down the gravel mountain to the bottom, ever so carefully because if I fell and got hurt no one would find me for hours. And this wasn’t a park, real live animals lived out there, folks. At one point I got chased home by a buck. Another I saw a snake wrapped around a sapling, someone’s pet that had been let loose into the woods, sunning itself. Maybe that’s not a good example, but that mother was big as hell and kept me with a decent amount of respect for the space cause Lord knows I didn’t wanna find out how big it’s fangs were.
Sometimes I would run left into the field. Sometimes I would run sprints on the dirt path I had worn, taking my frustration out with my feet pounding to the rhythm of what was playing in my ears, heart racing, breath gasping. I would stand with my hands clasped behind my head catching my breath and face the woods. Others I would skirt the woods going up a small incline to the right with the trees to my left, just content to walk and listen to my music and sing to myself.
Always, I would enter the woods last. The temperature would drop significantly and the light would change. Green light, seemingly bringing peace to my mind.
I had explored the woods throughly, walking the paths created by deer. Once I came to a spot where deer came to die – creepy. I didn’t take that path again. All the paths seemed to intertwine and come out to different parts of the field though. I never feared getting lost because all paths seemed to lead to an exit. There was a fallen tree I would sit on, feet dangling, and stare up at clouds floating by in a space between trees that had undoubtedly been created by the fallen one. I have a scar on my arm and on my leg from falling off of it once. One time Aaron and I took scrap wood back and made a nice little fort way back in the woods, but as we grew older we played there less. Sometimes I would visit there by myself after we grew too old to play there together. I wonder what became of it? Is it still standing? Have the woods taken it back? I tried to go back there one time as an adult, but heard the cries of what sounded to be a large wild cat and decided some memories are left as memories. But I wonder.
When I would walk into those woods, everything left me. I stopped worrying about how much dad was drinking, if mom was doing okay. I stopped worrying about not being popular, about rude comments made to me at school, about high school drama, if people were being nice to my brother. Nothing mattered anymore except the music in my ears, the gentle smell of leaves and bark and dirt, and the green light coming through the leaves and branches. Everything was clean here. and ruled by mother nature. What would be, would be. Things were born here, lived their lives here and died here in the green light. Rain and sunlight made this little world go round. The name brands I wore or didn’t wear meant nothing here, the shape of my body, nor my social status. I was just a girl traipsing through the woods, of little to no importance.
It was here that I came to know what peace felt and looked and sounded like.
I live many miles away from my sanctuary now, and in fact there’s not even a single tree in my backyard currently. But when I am my most troubled I find some woods and some headphones if I can and wander in green light until my breath comes easier and my heart less heavy and my mind less clouded. Sometimes I just close my eyes and visit my home woods for a moment, and while it’s not real I know it still exists and that – in and of itself – settles my soul.