This is a story about weight loss. At one point in my life, I weighed a ton. And when I say a ton, I mean thousands of pounds. There was a point in my life I was so heavy I didn’t think I would get back up.
I lived in a field of white flowers. This was my life garden. The land of fresh, green stalks with white flowers on their tops rolled for miles. The breeze traveled through the leaves like it was playing the stalks as strings on a guitar. The white petals swayed to the beat in perfect harmony. I tended to my flowers every day. I watered them with compliments and treated them like equals. Afterall, I am the life that created this garden.
But it wasn’t perfect. One day the breeze was a bit colder. Well I couldn’t have the chilled air freezing my plants! And so I started walking towards the cold air to find its source and put an end to its blistering blow. Everyday I walked closer to the cold, I felt a part of my chest delicately pulled at. Every step a petal would fall or an entire flower plucked right out. In the space of that missing flower, a small rock was placed. And slowly I replaced a part of my once heartily beating heart with a pebble. As you might be able to imagine, my chest started getting quite heavy. I started feeling the weight of those rocks when I walked. The weight caused me to drop my shoulders and slow my pace.
When night fell and I laid down to rest, the small mountain formed in my chest pressed me deep into my grass bed and made getting back up a strenuous task. When I saw my reflection in the mirrored water, I no longer saw a field of white flowers blowing in the wind but rather a pile of grayscale rocks. I was so tired, but I chose to keep walking because I was scared to stay laying down. What if I was too heavy to get out of my grass bed? It hurt my head to think such things.
My walking forward wasn’t directional, at first. Everywhere I stepped, I crunched life beneath my feet from the extra five hundred pounds in my chest. Behind me was a trail of flattened flowers, broken green stalks no longer reaching towards the sky no longer moved by the wind. But I built this place, how could I be destroying it?
I found myself trying to avoid this destruction of my once healthy field by walking towards the gravel path. I had never noticed this path before, but then again, I had never walked this far south. It made sense that if I were made of rocks then I belong near rocks, right? Walking the gravel path soon became as comforting as walking through the field of white flowers used to be. The path grew until it too was a field. In fact, I called this field my new home.
Every day a petal still fell and a flower still plucked, being replaced by a rock until, soon, it was my arms too. Each arm was another five hundred pounds. So I kept walking further into the cold gray landscape where I fit in better. Towards the bigger and heavier rocks like I, myself, was becoming. Pretty soon the gravel turned to boulders and the boulders turned to hills and the hills turned to mountains.
As I continued to slowly turn into a heavier and bigger pile of rocks, I entered the canyon. Inside the canyon, the steep cliff faces blocked the last remaining sunlight from the field. The sunlight from my flower field had been soaked up by my rocky skin, but now with the sun out of sight, I began to cool. My flowers need the sunshine to survive and each step further into the canyon darkness stripped that opportunity away.
It was subconscious, at first. There was no longer plucking of the flowers. They were curling up and falling off in the cold all on their own. Every flower before this was plucked from me; without my doing. But this was different. I caused these flowers to fall from the lack of sunshine. I brought myself to an environment where flowers do not thrive, they die. They were replaced with the heaviest rocks.
My legs, now too, had become boulder fields of their own weighing five hundred pounds each. Every step further into the canyon was a slow and loud drop. My body of boulders was the only sound to be heard in the entire canyon. The echo of my footsteps was almost taunting. Taunting noise of another being in there with me. The reality was, I walked this cliff valley alone.
There was one flower left. The delicate white flower was wrapped around my head like a crown. It reached for the sky, refusing to give up looking for sunlight. As my heavy steps took one last bend in the canyon I saw the end of the tunnel.
The rocks had been getting exponentially bigger as I traveled further away from the flowing flower field. Pebbles turned to rocks, rocks turned to boulders, boulders turned to hills, hills turned to mountains. Around this final corner I expected to see the largest, rocky mountain to exist. A final climb, at least a final destination. But you know what I saw?
I saw nothing. Not even my imagination could create a picture of my final climb, my final destination. It was empty. And so I sat down and felt the cold engulf my rough gray body with the single flower crown wrapped around my head.
If you have ever touched a rock at night, they are cold as ice. There is no sun to warm them. Sometimes the sun is too warm so we find comfort in the cold shade the cliffs provide. There was sun in my life at one point, in the field, but as I walked farther and farther from that garden of flowers, everything cooled until I too was just an ice cold rock in the middle of the night.
A petal from my last flower floated down my head until it landed on the cold canyon floor. The boulder field that I claimed myself to be had only one option now. One step left until I reached the nothing, became nothing. I fought and struggled to raise my ton of boulders to take that last step. One step to feel the final cold embrace.
But then a black and yellow dot popped out of the canyon. Tiny, like a fleck of sand compared to the towering cliffs around me. The black and yellow dot approached me and went to my last remaining flower with one remaining petal. This speck was a bee. A bee from my white flowered field. How did it find me all the way in here? What is it even here for?
The bee did what bees do best. A pollinator for my flower. The yellow of the bee was my last sunshine. Well I couldn’t become nothing because how would this bee survive without my flower! And so I took that step, but in the other direction. I turned away from the nothing and started walking the way the bee came.
I walked away from the towering rock faces that I had come to recognize as my home. Not only as my surroundings, but as my own rocky being. As I walked it began to rain. The rain was relentless. The bee took shelter under my only flower’s only petal. On I walked. Away from the mountains that turned into hills, hills that turned boulders, boulders that turned into rocks, rocks that turned into pebbles.
My body of jagged boulders was changing. The rain was eroding my rough edges. The erosion made each step a little lighter. Each step the mountains grew smaller, the cliff faces shorter. When I reached the end of the canyon, I weighed half the person I had become. The rain turned my rocks to stones with smooth surfaces.
When the rain stopped, the sunlight broke through the clouds and my single white flower peeled up towards the yellow heat. The bee emerged from its storm shelter. I had forgotten what warmth felt like when it touched my face. Yet, my stone body was still stone cold.
Geology tells us rocks are coldest right before sunrise because they had all night to cool down. I was the rock in the morning that was still cold from the night before. I can’t warm up instantly after being cold for so long. As I kept walking past the rocky hills, the sun slowly soaked into my gray skin. I began to feel warm to the touch.
When I reached the end of the hills and into the rocky field, a second flower began growing from my head. My second chance flower. Today my body is flowers and rocks and I live in both the rocky field and the white flower field. Even though I have eroded away my hard sharp edges I can’t forget the dark place I was one step away from.
The sun doesn’t always shine, my skin isn’t always warm. And the opposite is true. The cold doesn’t last forever, the light will return. I can live as both a garden of wind whistling flowers and a cold boulder field. Every day my rocks get a little smoother and one more flower sprouts up. One bee saved a being.