The Reunion of Body and Mind
“It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Atticus Finch “To Kill a Mockingbird”
I can now add activity to my words as I step out into the sunlight and fresh air. My bicycle awaits me with the eagerness of a lover anticipating her soulmates return. Here I reunite the free mind and captive body through consolidated renewal. The wind is back in my hair.
As I reflect on these past days, I realize how quickly life engulfed me as my beloveds whisked me away to a celebration of the fatted calf… in this case, Midwestern beef. It now feels strangely like a dream, as if I was never there, but I was. Denied the opportunity for a shower and wearing the clothes from the day I entered the gated community, I was nevertheless embraced by my escorts on 25 April, my birthday… a poetic irony, perhaps more so, poetic justice… for while the judge and my ex-spouse intended to retain me, I received my early release from an unanticipated authority in this drama. The first of May held no vigil for me.
So in the great reprise of my liberty, I revisited the words of wisdom my daddy imparted to me through our “monitored” correspondence, suggesting compassionately that one understands the value of hydration only in a parching thirst. It must be one of the most profound lessons of a given mortal life to understand that growth only comes through pain and loss. It is what makes us aware of the invisible support that surrounds us: As the fish learns after it is pulled from the water; as a citizen born in freedom fails to perceive their liberty; as a child raised in paradise is oblivious to its grandeur; as one created in love cannot see the endowment of its aegis. The protagonist is not authentically revealed until the antagonist appears.
This is Steven in the Wild with an after-action post to end-cap my trilogy in exile. Here I consolidate the essence of my shorter works of Steven in the Blind — and Steven is still very much with us, and Steven is still very much Wild; I
In the thoughtful order of things, I must first thank you, not just for reading my raw hieroglyphics of primal experience, but for your support, encouragement , and yes, even love manifested in a myriad of expression, for I was without need. Nearly 60 letters in 24 days, a deluge of phone calls, video visits, food and hygiene items, funds generously donated into my account for medications, nursing, undershirts, socks, haircuts, beard trimming, phone calls, and any other need that arose. One anonymous dear-heart provided me non-offensive toothpaste, another lip care, and still another 4 pens and 3 notepads so that one of the great instruments of our liberty, writing, did not cease day or night. So many treasured comforts from parts unknown. I lacked for nothing. My lovely and gifted partner, Firefly Blue, labored with her husband to publish my work with its many handwritten drafts from inside my gated community. Their efforts granted me a lifeline of inosculation with the outside world. The comfort you provided in your investment has redeemed my words. They are now my gift to you; these thoughts, the dividend of your deposits.
The inevitable release from debtor’s prison did not give me the confidence in which I speak to you today. My liberation existed in me all along through you, my cherished readers. Its genesis began in my thoughts, validated by your witness. Through you I felt the strength of my liberty. This unjust and unfortunate event became my necessary proving grounds, the fielding of my convictions, beliefs, theories, and spirit. My resolve and patience, already tempered in the cauldron of rejection and spite from a 25-year marriage, has flourished in mental fertility. I understand that my ex-spouse wishes to punish me to quell her emptiness, but her actions are the evidence of her own self-destruction; a perfect paroxysm of fury.
“Between stimulus and
I am in a mortal contest; an unremitting warfare of attrition; my very own Iliad. I am proven by the insult, sanctified in my internal fortitude forged by the scorch-works. In some distant nocturnal cycle I dream the world in which I will live. I formulate the promise of it in this moment through syllable and syntax, for I remain very much Steven and hope is very much alive in me. I am resurrected for the contest of life through the invisible support that surrounds me, an invisible support that the poet David Whyte says is revealed in our vulnerability.
I departed the gated community with the exhilarating awareness of this invisible support. I may be compelled to return by dark minds, but the veil of the void is pierced and the mystery is revealed in its malevolent intent, now barren. I walked into the sunlight with the evidence of the invisible support made visible in letters, necessities, and encouragements from family, friends, colleagues, professionals in therapy and academic circles, strangers, and a kit-kat-o-gram of support from a girl and her dog.
In the meaningful order of things, I leave you an excerpt from my personal log on day 8 of my captivity. It is here that I re-experience the richness of my feelings while in the belly of the whale, “I no longer see my [journey] as linear, rather as cloud banks in the sky. A network of billowing, dissipating, and re-consolidating gaseous texture that move across the sky like vignettes of my life never to return again in the same way. This is the lavender haze for me; this is the rich ambiguity in letting go… The very essence of uncertainty in my certainty steels me with strength. I am a shape altering cloud over a linear landscape. Where I go, they cannot think and where their imagination ends I go! My strength is a marvel to them; my tenacity is their anxiety… One’s liberty is a cause that never quiets…”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Victor Frankl
The passionate Phoenix of Firefly Horizons and conceptual prognosticator of Mutatis Mutandis reborn through the scorching forge of his annihilation into creative sanctuary. Steve translates the fury of his Phoenix experience into experiential exegesis in search of perspectives not yet in view. Read more about Steve • Articles by Steve