Musings From The Porch: The Storm & The Vigil


“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

A year ago I wrote about sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Chicago, watching stories of the world unfold. The organized chaos of that day is starkly contrasted by the disorganized calm I experience now, sitting on my porch in the Indiana countryside, not so much watching the world go by, but rather -feeling- it go by. The occasional car, truck, or tractor rumbles along our ragged stretch of cracked and worn asphalt, but other than that, it’s a fairly sedate existence out here. To say it’s quiet is both an understatement and a falsehood, illustrating the contradictory nature of life.

Out here, I can hear the world. Not the man-made world, but the world that made itself. I can also hear myself. I can also see the world. There aren’t any towering skyscrapers reflecting themselves back on each other; there’s no maze of light and glass and steel keeping me from seeing what exists beyond the borders of “civilization.” I quite literally can see for miles, sitting right here on my front porch, or on my back deck, at least until the corn comes up. The only skyline here is the horizon, with farmhouses and treelines letting me know where earth ends and sky begins.

I am enamored with city life, and completely at home amid the chaos and confusion and ever-increasing speed of life there, and love every opportunity I get to visit places like Chicago. But I look forward just as equally to the long, slow, quiet days here in rural America. It’s a form of balance, I suppose, something I tend to struggle with on a constant basis. Being out here gives me time to reflect, to look back on the path I’ve come down, and to look to the path ahead. Out there, I journey, I travel, and I experience the storm, and rage and revel with it. But here, where the world fades away to being “somewhere out there,” I keep vigil.

These past few years have been some of the most difficult of my life, but that adversity has been balanced by new adventures and successes. Moments have come and gone, memories forged, and foundations laid for the future. I’ve gone out and DONE things. I’ve achieved and accomplished, failed and tried again, and I have pressed on. From my art to my writing to my music, I have worked steadily to become who and what I am, learning to define my wants and my needs based on my intrinsic nature, and listening to the voice in my soul. In doing so, life has become almost unbearably difficult at times, but it has also become unbelievably incredible.

Dear friends of mine, witness to some of the darkest days of my life, have been overheard to say, “If it was anyone else, they’d have fallen; they’d have broken. I don’t know how he stands.” The truth is, there have been times where I didn’t know how to stand on myown, and I am eternally thankful for the people that held me up when I couldn’t. But those same friends–my chosen family, my tribe, if you will–have also been there to celebrate every victory I have fought for. As I reflect on where I have been and who I have been, what I have experienced and endured, I can only remind myself that achievement comes from the struggle of adversity.

One of the most difficult things I have had to struggle with is life and death. To be blunt: suicide. I’ve never feared death, I have only feared not living. And while the journey of the last few years has seen me do things that most people would consider accomplishments and achievements worth living for, I found myself spiraling down into a darkness that pulled me deeper and deeper into the hell I created within myself. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live anymore–it was too much, too difficult, too painful. I was tired of hurting, physically and emotionally, and I was tired of hurting those around me, especially the ones I loved the most. I weighed options that would allow me to escape the world, and I even pursued a couple of them, coming dangerously close to succeeding.

At my lowest point, a very deep and meaningful relationship that changed my life ended tragically and regrettably in a storm of fury and anger and love-turned-to-hate, and it broke me. It pushed me over the edge of sanity, to a place I knew existed but had managed to avoid falling into, a place where hell is real and experienced. It drove me to loathe myself, to believe that I was the kind of monster that could deserve the things that were done and said to me, and to be cast aside and abandoned, left empty and alone. The truth is, I still do believe those things, and I probably always will. The darker truth is that I’m still in that place, and I cling precariously to a razor sharp edge. Months later, I’m still among the wreckage of that storm, lost among the pieces of myself, built up by that relationship then destroyed by its ending, trying to figure out how to put them together. I’ve been accused of not wanting to rebuild, but the truth is that I can’t simply pave over the remains of the past, I have to build from it. For me, I need to create a mosaic from the fractured and shattered remains of what was, because there is beauty even in them, and it is the only way to truly hold on to what was good. I long for a closure and resolution I am refused, and know will likely never come, but such is the nature of love–ever is it the wellspring of hope.


These days, I live with little hope, except for that of getting from this moment to the next, if only to see what comes next. Hope itself has been stripped from me, becoming a burden of existence. I struggle with it constantly, finding ways to let go of it, since it’s brought me nothing but self-imposed grief. I’ve struggled the most with letting go, because hope demands we hang on and not give up on what we love.

For me, hope, like expression, has become a fatal sin.

I could wax poetic on the virtues of love and hope, but I don’t know that I’d accomplish anything other than reminding myself of the things that hurt me, and how much I miss pieces of my life… like I’m doing right now.

The problem with being me is that I -have- to be who I am. I spent too many years pretending to be someone I wasn’t before deciding “Fuck this, I am lying to myself, and this has to change.” Life isn’t meant to be a series of items on a checklist determined by someone else who says, “go to school, get a job, pay your bills.” Life should be about passion. Life should be about storms that rage internally and externally, and riding the wind and the waves and being consumed by the fire and energy of them.

Lao Tzu said, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”  I can, both from the experience of my own life and my interactions with the lives others attest to the truth of this. Each day is a journey. Each day is a storm. Each day is a vigil. From where I have been to where I am now, for all the love and hate, joy and sorrow, creation and destruction, gain and loss, I have no regret. The people in my life have made me who I am, because I have chosen to let them. That is who I am. I’m not here to put up walls that keep the world out, I’m here to be of the world, and let the world be of me, to experience it, to embrace it, and to be who and what it makes me. That is self-determination of the highest order, and for me at least, it is the deepest truth of life. To pretend that we have any control over life, to try and force any control over ourselves or the world around us is deny ourselves our spirit and our being, and to deny the natural order of chaos and the world.

I hurt. I love. I grieve. I am empty.

I am broken.

But I am thankful that I am, because it means I’m alive, and that I am living. I am alive, and where hope fails and is destroyed, love persists, continues, unrestricted, unconditionally, uncompromising.

Life is a storm. And I am here to embrace it and be one with it. To live and die as life chooses, having only a say in how I meet that life and death, and the only true control in life being that we surrender to it. And in this, I am vigilant, from the safety of my front porch, an eye to the horizon while remembering the path that brought me from there to here, mindful of the path that leads me back there and to where tomorrow takes me.

One thought on “Musings From The Porch: The Storm & The Vigil

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: