about me

On a typical summer day, my best friend, Alice, and I would traverse the streets within a one mile radius of our meeting sights. From the makeshift fort on the side of her house, to the grocery store down the street, we were always together. Leaving our mark in wet cement, giggling in a corner as Alice wrote her name on the deli wall, riding with her on the handlebars of my blue Schwinn bicycle, chasing after the ice cream man with handfuls of whatever currency we could grab…these are the images that flashed through my mind on my not so typical summer day.
On this particular day the sun permeated the shuffling leaves above me, beating down on my freckled shoulders. My sticky fingers gripped the yellow chain as I kicked my legs and swung back and forth. At this point in time, Alice and I were no taller than the neon open sign at the deli, so we spent our days with my two older sisters. They splashed around, diving into the bright blue water with goggles barely big enough to conceal their excited eyes as I swung, the bottom of my faded pink flip flops scraping the dirt with every revolution. Following a long, slow creak, hardly suspicious enough to spark a slight turn of the head, my world went from the brightest sunshine to the darkest canopy. The tree I climbed as high as I could in, the one that whispered to me through my windows at night, the one that provided shade and comfort over my swing set, came tumbling down on me. He scratched at my bare back, maybe tired of never receiving after all he has given, or maybe just unable to bear the weight of gravity any longer. The frantic splashing of my rescue crew, and the slap of feet on paved stone filled my ears as pain blurred the vision of the leaves surrounding me.
My oldest sister swept her cool fingertips over the ridges and valleys of my back, my head buried in her lap. Although, I was safe in her hands, I was shocked by the inevitable route of frailty, and how I had been found at the end of it. Yet, I had someone looking out for me, my guardian angel, dancing through the leaves, like shifting light, finding its way to me. The beams collapsed in, the branches following suit, yet I was barely reached. I replayed this dance in my mind, trying to understand the balance between light and dark, chance and circumstance. Although, it wasn’t until I stopped spinning, counting the steps in my head, that I finally understood the artwork of effect, and enjoyed the production.
The gnawing buzz of the workers filled my ears as I watched the slow demolition of the tree. If you imagined a time lapse of the day, the pile shrunk until it was just dust from the saw. As they packed up their tools, my mother grabbed me by the hand. For generations, she told me, we have been gardeners; we take the untilled soil of weeds and plant carcasses, we sort it and sift it into rows and flat surfaces. The seeds are then laid out in even distributions, and we grow. We grow strong and tall because we are rooted deep. So that is exactly what we did, and with worn gardening gloves, she showed me how to weave my own seeds. I stepped outside of my own story and saw how much I had grown, sprouting from the debris of my beloved Elm. So here I am, Heath Orcutt, and I am a composition of life, I am soil, and I am growing.

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