I leaned into his body with my shoulder against his chest, his arm wrapped around me as we rested against the car. Five birds, black against the pale blue and yellow sunset, flew across the scene. The world darkened and melted into gray clouds–all the world except the framed sunset with a strip of land and distant mountain separating marsh from sky. I thought how easy the landscape would be to paint, and yet how impossible to capture its beauty and complexity. I tried to focus on the moment, the serenity of the countryside and the silence of the oncoming night, but concentration proved difficult with his warm body next to mine, the almost tangible feeling of love and acceptance he exuded. I struggled with the guilt of depression, even with this human in my life, even with a perfect place like this so near home.
He said, in his soft voice, that the place was actually dead, and he gave evidence that convinced me. But he didn’t know it was the most alive I’d felt in weeks. I felt so much real emotion–not just anxiety, but anticipation; not just curiosity, but wonder. But most of all, caring; caring for him, for myself, for the future, for the moment. And I almost remembered what it’s like to matter.