At a red light at the corner of River Valley Road and Riverside Drive in Atlanta
there’s nowhere to go but left
or right; not straight.
Straight is into the yellow rectangular sign with the arrows pointing left and right.
Straight is into the brush.
Straight is a dead end.
I’m turning left towards the place where I’m heading.
Left towards the big oak tree full of crooked limbs and spring growth.
Right is some whole other direction I haven’t even considered.
A whole stream of possibilities that remain unknown; can’t give them any credence.
I sit in the driver’s seat breathing through my nose, reminding myself
to do that slower, really let the oxygen come through
and enrich my blood, bring my hyper-mind to a crawl.
The light is long, but I need it; every last second.
A few seconds before (still at the light) I thought only
fearful thoughts. Fear for the future. Fear for the present.
Fear for failing to feel secure in either.
But the breath comes and goes. The chest
heaves, doing its job.
Now all I’m thinking about is left.
Left and the majestic oak tree that was there before I took
my first breath, and will be there after my last
and the next turn and the next and the breath I forgot to take
but took without thinking.