Ya know, it's funny how things sneak up on you.
As of dinner time last night, I was twenty-five years old.
Funny thing is It didn't really mean a lot to me, - I'd been getting progressively older for as long as I remember- but as the sun set over the woodline, I ceased chopping wood, securing my Kurkri to my belt and hoisting the logs and pine branches up to my chest for the trip home. As usual, Savannah (my German Shepherd/Daughter) happily trotted alongside me keeping me safe from snakes who may ambush us.
The crickets were out as we kicked in the wooden gate and placed the wood into the old semi truck wheel rim, stuffing the pine and paper shreds underneath, sparking and airing embers until they came ablaze on their own.
The fire burned bright and hot as I waited on my friends to come out and visit, expecting food and fire and entertainment. One by one, the would-be-guests sent via text, type or telephone their excuses as to why they couldn't attend the little fireside soiree. Alas, I squatted down next to my pup, leaned into my entrenching tool and watched the fire burn and cackle into embers under the night sky. The moon shone, the crickets sang, the birds husshedly spoke among each other. Coyotes hawlled (wolves howl, coyotes attempt to do it but fail). All in this , my Savannah never left my side. She remained, her ears up and alert. It was at that moment that all of it hit me.
You see, I knew that despite everything that had transpired in my life, I essentially had to return home and turn 25 to figure out at least an inkling of where I stand in this world. I have been brought up from nothing and nobody to life as a travelling somebody living in luxury only to throw it all away to instead scurry through the slums of third world hellholes, military barracks, a few apartments here and there and then.. this. Back to the trailer from whence I came.
I'm 25 years old now. This year will be the first year I can actually be able to vote. I received a call from a localish Police Agency that I did well on testing and will be moving on to the next round. My love for writing remains strong and while living out here might cost me a little more, it teaches me now what it taught me years ago. Clarity. Finding peace. Learning that while I always have a sidearm on my hip, that I never wish to use it, and that I have a gift for language and empathy that I would much rather utilize, resolve the issue and be on my way, possibly with a new friend.. Someday I will teach my children to have one hand open and ready to shake, and another behind your back. I used to have a saying when someone knocked on my door: "Sweet Tea or Shotgun" . Still rings true, you know. Courtesy always has Caution on his side, you just don't know it.
Quarter of a century in, and here we are. Hang on. I don't even know where we're going.