Yelling at trees is a serial story that is written from the perspective of a fictitious amateur female blogger, Kelsey Whitney, and is published through Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and this blog.
Yelling at trees (episode 3)
It’s a strange thing about death—it’s that although you’ll have known people who have died, and you’ll have known your whole life that you’re gonna die someday, and that all people will eventually wither and pass away… even through all that, it can still catch you by surprise, and be so unexpected. And maybe you’ll say, when it comes, things like, “I never thought something like this would happen.” Which in your mind you know, rationally, that that don’t make no sense, but in your heart it’s about the truest statement you could make.
Death just doesn’t make any sense. There’s something so unnatural about death, so permanent—and permanent in the way that mountains are permanent—like although you might try to take a shovel to dig away the mountain of death, and you may dig earnestly for a hundred years, but after all that’s done, the mountain is still gonna be there. There ain’t nobody that I know of who can kill death, and we ain’t got a big enough shovel for it.
The funeral was this past Thursday—it was cheaper on a Thursday… I didn’t speak. Rodger did: he thanked everyone for coming. He said that Sue and him, and me, and the rest of the family were all grateful for the people who’d come from out of town, on a work night. And then he mentioned all of Ben’s finest qualities; and he read a statement that I wrote out ahead of time, something that I wanted to say, but knew that I couldn’t get through it, not in front of so many people, and not without falling into a blubbering mess on the floor. He said, that after the diagnosis, that we all thought that we’d have more time, Ben included, but God had other plans—which is a real swell way to say that you can get rear-ended by a drunk driver while being diagnosed with stomach cancer, the same as you can as if you were completely healthy. The car don’t care. The car’s gonna hit you irregardless. It don’t care that you were already dying. A car’s gonna do what it’s gonna do, but it’s a real nice spin to put on it, to say that “God had other plans.” And maybe it helps Rodger and Sue, ’cause they’re so churchy, to think of it that way; but I wouldn’t say it like that. Maybe it’s not so much “God’s plans” as it is Jack Daniel’s plans, or Michelob’s plans—and who are we to say that, if there is such a thing as God, that He had anything to do with it, and what an evil plan that would be too: to send a drunk driver to kill someone who was already dying.
Tonight, I went out into the woods again, and I didn’t yell at the trees this time, so much as I cried to them. I sob to them, but the trees don’t answer back. I say “why?” through the tears in my voice, but still they don’t say anything—so what’s the use in yelling, if nobody hears anyways.
Added: One more thing, during the funeral I saw my cousin’s youngest step-daughter typing on her cell phone–during the funeral service! Turn off the button sounds, why don’t you! And if we weren’t already at a funeral, I might have murdered her.
“I hate technology,” she says as she types away on her grief blog, which is what Sue calls it. I can’t think anymore, and it’s late, so I’d better stop typing.
Increments: Sometimes it might be easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves against the visible successes of others. You might see social media personalities with amazing skills, quick wit, an impeccable home life, or with seemingly all the best and most popular friends; and in those moments it would be easy to fall into a downward spiraling, “woe is me” type despair. Saying to yourself, “I could never be like so-and-so. Everything for them is so perfect.” Maybe you’ve found yourself in this spot right now, comparing your life to what you see in Instagram filters… Well cheer up. I’m here to share some good news.
Yes, you’re right. You can never be exactly like the perfect so-and-sos: you could never have their house, their exact style, or relationships. We can only be ourselves: either better or worse versions of ourselves, but, in the end, only ourselves. And so I’d like to present the idea that the best person we should be comparing ourselves to is ourselves: have we made terrible decisions yesterday? Make better ones today, in increments, in ways that maybe no one else could see by looking at us through the lens of a social media photo filter. That is one of the clearest ways to see if we are becoming the people we were created to be; we should measure our todays, not by someone else’s, but by our own yesterdays. And for yourself, “Have a better day than yesterday.”
I’m looking for early, beta readers for “Mountain of Shadows,” the second book in the City of Words series. Did you love the first book? Then read the second book, early, for free.
You’ll be sent a free copy of the book, and a small questionnaire that will help me to improve the book before it’s officially released.
Email me if you are interested. firstname.lastname@example.org
The second book in the City of Words series is finished. I’m calling it “Mountain of Shadows.”
Now starts the months of editing, artwork, reediting, planning, continued editing, crying (for joy) when it’s finally ready to be released to the world. But as of right now, the newly finished second book in the “City of Words” series is still in the awkward draft stages, like the adolescence of book writing.
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