The Trees Dance Ballet

As I drive through the endless fields of West Texas, tumbleweeds roll out in front of me. For some reason, I swerve them as if they are some sort of living thing. I know that tumbleweeds are certainly not “alive,” but they behave as if they are. They move along the road as if they are heading somewhere, and I would hate to make them late to wherever they are going. I know that the tumbleweed wouldn’t be angry if I ran over him, but I swerve him, all the same, to avoid judgment in the world to come. I understand that the tumbleweed has no mind and no soul, but still, a part of me envies his endless sense of purpose. The tumbleweed rolls along the road, occasionally growing, and seems unconcerned about where he is going.

I personify the tumbleweed as I drive along and imagine Mr. Tumbleweed to be endlessly blissful. He participates as the first chair in the symphony around me. Rain or shine, Mr. Tumbleweed has decided to continue blowin’ in the wind. I think that Bob Dylan might have been right, and the “answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” In a sense, I, too, am blowin’ in the wind. I am roaming in West Texas, my tumbleweed friend and me. Like the tumbleweed, I occasionally grow by picking up new ideas and desires along my road, but I do not pick my route. Instead, the metaphysical wind decides my road. I am free in this thought, and I imagine myself participating in the symphony of the world around me. I recognize that the Tumbleweed and I are in this symphony together. We are first and second chairs, and the wind is our conductor. I notice the trees around me and how they obey the wind’s commands. The trees dance ballet on this fine Texas afternoon, moving just as it was choreographed from the beginning of time. Experiencing this new perspective, I enjoy my drive in Texas. Me, the tumbleweeds, and the trees are all doing what we are supposed to do this afternoon. It feels right.

When I arrive in the town of Abilene, Texas. I notice the sun’s rays turn orange in my rearview mirror. I see the sun illuminating a sign downtown that says “Abilene Plumbing Supply Company (Est. 1928).” This must be my destination for the evening. I wonder, “Where does the tumbleweed rest for the night?” I’m sure he’s exactly where he needs to be. I feel grateful as I go down to write in my journal.

Participate in the symphony around you. The blackbirds migrate in schools for winter. The floating fuzz hovers in the elevator if you look carefully. The water drips over your hands in the shower. Splash it on your face. You are alive. Stop judging; you are alive. It seems that it has gone out of style to be happy. We would rather pretend to be concerned with appointments and obligations. Don’t pretend. Be honest. Live.

It took me an entire afternoon in West Texas to learn what the tumbleweed never forgets. Blow in the wind. Participate in the symphony. I’m glad I swerved the tumbleweeds. They are some excellent teachers. 

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Max Yelken

A young man looking for a sustainable life of adventure in a changing world.

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