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The Call of Nature

I used to love being a part of nature. I used to spend time reading in the park, going for long walks by the river, taking short hikes and exploring the hidden depths of forests while chatting about life and all its mysteries with friends.

That was before Lyme disease. After Lyme disease, knowing what haunted the underbrush, what waited to sneak, unsuspecting, in the grass, I couldn't see nature the same way again.

The thing I used to love--that I felt so much a part of--I now dreaded, and it broke my heart. I'd never felt so disconnected before...

As time went on and I began to recover, as I began to walk again, leave my house again, that slowly began to change. I spent more time outside. I walked my dogs. I cut my lawn. I raked my leaves. I sat and watched sunrises and sunsets from my porch chair, marveling at the beauty of the world, this nature I still longed to be a part of.

But when I passed forests and fields, instead of seeing something beautiful and magnificent, something that connected me, all I saw was pain. All I saw was illness. All I saw was fear.

And my body, its nervous system damaged as it is, ramped that up so that it felt like I was in constant threat. Do you want to go back to that hell again? It taunted me. Do you want to be reinfected by another strain, a different infection? Then stay away, stay away, stay away...

But still my spirit called me to the woods, to the parks, to the earth.

I got around that by visiting the beach with my best friend every year. Every spring, we'd drive to the closest beach and spend a few hours on the sand. Sometimes talking. Sometimes not. Always watching the waves and feeling infinitesimally small and realigned.

But I still missed the grass beneath my feet. I still missed the sunshine breaking through the leaves in the canopies in the forests. I still missed so much.

I am still afraid, especially after my ER visit in October triggered some of that old PTSD again. But slowly, slowly, I'm working on my physical and spiritual recovery. Slowly, slowly, I'm starting to see nature as healing again and not this constant threat, something I have to survive, as I've survived all these years. Slowly, slowly, I'll make my way back to the parks, back to the woods.

Back to me again.

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