Monday, October 14, 2013

Three Runes & Paper Men

When I was seventeen years old I chose my three Runes. The legends say you reach into a bag of Rune stones and without looking, let your hands search out your three. What you pull out you hold tight in your hand and then place, upside down, left to right on a flat surface in front of you. As you turn them over and reveal them you are shown your fate. I chose in this order: Algiz, Wunjo, and Jera. They mean Protection, Hope, and Harvest. I have never forgotten them. They are my whole story. They matter.

I bring them up because I always connected them with my greatest desire: to someday fall in love and be loved in return. Cold Antler is my life, my work, and my passion. It is a dream come true and I am so grateful for it. It has made me a writer, and a farmer, and set me free into the world of terrifying self employment. It is mine and I will do whatever it takes to keep it alive, keep it going, and keep me here. But the farm isn't my whole story. My whole story has not happened yet. The big part involves paper airplanes...

Paperman is an animated short that came out a few years ago, but I just recently discovered it. Take a minute and twenty-two seconds and watch the trailer above. If you do so, you'll understand the rest of this post. I want to write about being single tonight, which is something I generally ignore. At least, I try to. I have no idea how transparent I am when it comes to men on this blog, but I try to keep it to myself. But tonight I realized I have been writing this blog for over six years and not once have I mentioned a significant other. That's because of two reasons.

1. I don't write about my romantic life. It's mine.
2. I don't have one.

And here is why: I'm that guy. I'm the paper man. I'm Jim from The Office. I'm Elizabeth Bennet. I'm Jay Gatsby. I'm the whole friggin' cast of Twelfth Night. I am the person who falls hard. The type of person who knows with absolute certainty when someone is right for me. When it happens (and it has happened, twice) I feel those paper airplanes. It is a joy, a drug, and it overtakes me. It is the most intense sensation I have ever felt, the most vulnerable I have ever been, and when I am in the middle of it my whole life has more volume. It is wonderful beyond my ability to communicate here. I'm not saying that falling for a guy is what defines happiness. I am saying that hoping that feeling is reciprocated is. I am happiest and most alive when the *possibility* of love exists. I would like to say I'm happiest when actually in love, but I have never had that. I think love takes two people. Unrequited feelings may be intense (they sure as hell work in literature) but that isn't love. Love needs a witness.

Does that make sense? Probably not. I'll try to explain. I am 31 years old and have been single most of my life. I've wanted love. I did try. But I think the trying is what ruined everything. I don't think love is something you can fight for. That's punching under water. Love is the water.

And so far in my life I've been soaking wet in that blessed water two times. The first time I felt safer than I did in my entire life. It was the first time I ever felt the airplanes rise around me and it made years of my life magical. That guy politely ignored the airplanes until he had to impolitely ignore them. I was not his Daisy. It was long ago and I have forgotten his parent's names, but he was Algiz. The second time was all hope. I felt like a fast dog chasing a train. I had one moment that lasted a few seconds that made me the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I was not his Daisy. It was a long time ago and I have forgotten his voice, but he was Wunjo. That leaves Jera. As a farmer and a dreamer I like that I have one more shot and it's Harvest.

So that's why I'm single. Not because men don't occasionally pursue me. Not because I haven't been asked out. I'm single because I don't see the point of anything short of paper airplanes. If that spark of renewed life isn't there - I'm not lit. If that beautiful hope isn't saturating colors around me and making me smile for no reason at 2:48PM, then I'm not interested. I have been told this is foolish, hollywood, tripe. That I have been raised on romantic comedies. That "real" love is nothing like this. I would believe them if I haven't felt the proof. Not infatuation. Not fascination. Love. And while I know all intense emotions do change over time, just like people. I believe some folks get lucky. Some people's fireworks turn into fireplaces, not as sporadic and intense but warm and constant with the occsional spark. That is what I am talking about. That's what I'm holding out for.

People say life is too short for such fantasy love, but I think it's too short to ignore it. I know what it feels like to be in that cartoon up there. It may have only been one-sided, but the honesty of intention was there. I'll find it again. He's out there and he's single for the same reasons I am: He's the paper man. He's Jim from The Office. He's Elizabeth Bennet. He's Jay Gatsby. He's the whole friggin' cast of Twelfth Night. He's the person who falls hard. He's the type of person who knows with absolute certainty when someone is right for him. When it happens to him (and it has happened before) he feels those paper airplanes. He may not live on a farm or even know what a Rune is, but he knows his own path. He knows how to fold, and throw, and hope. He sends out airplanes. They are his whole story. They matter.

I hope he's ready for harvest. I could really use the help.