i am, we are

by tobias crabtree

i don’t know when exactly. it was a long time ago. it might have been in first grade, in Mrs. Baze’s class.  we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. i remember the moment, not the details surrounding. i only remember answering, “tarzan” and then i remember my face flushing with embarrassment as it was explained to me that that was not an actual thing one might become.

it’s been a long time since that moment. i don’t blush as easily anymore. i might not even blush, i’m not sure. i hope i do about something, but i don’t know what it is. i still hope to become tarzan. i still love his savage ways. and to cast my body through the canopy, ten stories up, and to swim the wildest of rivers and to speak the language of the beings who inhabit the woods…yes, i wish on these things.

i woke up this morning at 4 a.m. That hour is a bit early for me but this morning i obliged. i rose.

it is not uncommon for me to say to myself, before i fall asleep, “this was another day of my life.” it’s just my acknowledgement of existence; nothing monkish. but today would not let go. today existence stayed in my face, like a schoolyard bully. i am here. the sky is above and the ground waits for me to return. the dirt under my feet is my next of kin.

mom called at 7:44 a.m. which is the exact minute 46 years ago that she brought me into this world. she bore me. she nursed me. she raised me. she put money in my checking account today. she called me and said she loved me. 46 years of unconditional, unabashed, unrelenting love. if there is ever anything that keeps me from feeling alone, it is my mother. so i am here. she made sure of that.

as far as what i want to be. well, i’m still working on that. my hair is shaggy. my skin is brown. i live under the trees much of the year. i climbed a cedar today. i ran through the woods. i drank 4 cups of strong coffee. i ate peach and blueberry pie. i did pushups under a madrone. i drank a snort of whiskey. i laughed. i tattooed a friend. i wrote words. i thought thoughts. i told my ma i loved her. i listened to the crickets. i looked at the stars and told them i’d be along shortly.

i did other things, but they might bore you. but as i go to bed, i still want to be tarzan, all these years later.

what’s weird is that i can say, “i am here,” and so can you. so, no matter what we have this in common.

that alone is enough, or at least is should be.