Scattering Birds

“Birds scatter at the least provocation because it’s better to be wary and wrong than to be content and dead.” ~Theodicus

2991196580_0417c9a5e6_zWhy do people disappear? Someone once told me that everyone is in your life for a season, and that some people’s seasons just last longer than others. If my life were a television show I would be in season 17. Some seasons were full of people and situations while others were relatively barren. Luckily for me there are hopefully many more seasons to come, and I’m also lucky to have three people traveling this road with me. So why am I still obsessed with those who have left?

It’s been said that most times the way we see things is colored by past experience and doesn’t truly account for the way others actually think in that moment. For instance, Steve and I were close for a year. We did everything together, from badminton to bowling to art openings. In fact, he was like a brother to me, the brother I never had. But then he was gone, as if I were alcohol and he was going cold turkey. I never got an explanation either, but I always felt that it was something I had done or said that drove him off.

But sometimes birds scatter when they hear the boom of the hunter’s gun, even when they don’t get hit by a bullet. They anticipate that the next one will be coming for them so they fly to where they feel they will be safer. Which of course doesn’t help me when I’m trying to figure out what went wrong because I worry that I was the boom of the gun, that I scattered them as surely as if I had pulled the trigger myself. And I wallow in that misery because no one is there to tell me differently, because they’ve gone and I am left behind.

I leave people too, though, without a word or a look backward. Well, of course I always look backward, but sometimes that introspection takes a while to occur, at which point it’s been way too long. But is it ever too long to help someone get closure and ease their minds? I know that for me if Steve showed up tomorrow and told me straight up why he fell off the radar I would be able to put it behind me, at least in a way. But without that closure I’m left staring up at the trees wondering why I can’t see any birds.

So I’m trying to dig back into my past and see where I fit into someone else’s life for a season or more, where I left for whatever reason and didn’t explain myself. “It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.” I agree, because when I left I didn’t really think about what I was leaving in my wake, and if I want that satisfaction from others, why shouldn’t I be willing to give it myself, no matter how much time has passed? It’s the least we can do.

Sam

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