Day 6: A Mass In The Trees

I’ve never felt without a higher power in this life.

For all that I wish hadn’t happened to me, there are so many things for which I am eternally grateful, and always will be. Even in my most lost moments, I know I’m not alone. Most of the time I choose to be alone, isolating myself. It’s an alcoholic crutch, but, it’s also a human crutch.

Even when I was at a bar, surrounded by my “pub family,” I tended to be alone. Lost at the bottom of a rocks glass.

As I dive into AA, reading and then rereading the steps, my higher power becomes a subject of much contemplation. I was raised Catholic. Attending church with my mother (my father is an Atheist), for most of my childhood. As a young adult, my church attendance tapered off, but, I still believed. And, while I haven’t been to church in some time, I like to think that I still carry all the morals, lessons, and traditions I once held dear.

Day 6, something in me called me to mass. An 8AM mass, filled with old biddies and nuns. When I entered my pew, the sparse crowd was rhythmically chanting out the Rosary. I sat, closed my eyes, and let it wash over me. When the priest entered and began, I was dissapointed to learn there was no music at weekday services. Music has always been otherworldly to me, taking me away. But, I just let the routine of the service return to me. The call and answers, the prayers, the kneeling, the standing, the kneeling, the standing, the kneeling, the standing. I let myself be in that moment of peace and reflection. But, my heart called for something else, somewhere else.

As I put forth every effort to let my toxic thoughts go, all I could think of doing was going to what had been my church for the hardest part of my life. Powell Butte.

When my boyfriend of six and a half years left me last September, I was devastated. Everyday, after I was able to eat and function again, I hiked Powell Butte, until the rains would not allow me to take to the trails. An underrated oasis in Portland, OR, just five miles from the city. Trees and dirt. Life and light. Last fall, as leaves cascaded down around me, I felt at home and at peace. Even in my most trying moments, God could always find me beneath the canopy of trees. Where the earthen smell of damp moss was enough to comfort the most broken of hearts.

So, after the Catholic mass, I hopped into my Honda Civic and drove.

I drove to the mass that only I can attend. Where God greets me through the trees and under my feet.

Powell Butte 09/13/12. Taken by withoutaglass.


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