I didn't go back home after work this morning. I clocked out at 7, drove only as far as Concord, and figured that since I had no particular schedule I'd hang out in Minuteman Park until the rush hour traffic lightened up a bit.
I was still in my scrubs and warmup jacket. It was cold out, but not bitter cold, with a light gray rain falling, enough to feel, not enough to soak. The trees were just starting to turn , still green with only shades and flashes of yellow and red. Old stone walls lined empty fields and dirt paths. I walked a little ways into the park, far enough that I couldn't see roads or another person, and sat on a weathered granite bounder. A squirrel perched on a nearby branch, chattering loudly, staring at me with a level fearless gaze and chirping again before running off on important squirrel business.
I sat and thought. Sometimes I didn't think. Sometimes I meant to think but just looked, just took in the chilly air and the wavering leaves of the trees.
I thought about the two halves of my life. ER and BDSM. They're both characterized by secrets, by powerful sensation and emotion, by the human body. When you deal with people's bodies you deal with their whole lives, and what you see is as funny and sad and strange as people are. And yet in another way, people always hold back. Seeing a person in great pain or great pleasure, seeing them naked literally and metaphorically, shows you things you wouldn't otherwise see--but not everything. There are things people know, things people are, that cannot be wrenched out, that sometimes cannot even be given.
There was a tree with big diamond-shaped leaves across the field from me, its leaves yellowing at the edges but still a brilliant green at their core.
I've written about transcendence before. It's understandably hard to put in words. The closest I get is along the lines of "There's something more than... nnnuh. Than, you know. There's more than this." There's something more to people than bodies, and that's why I am so comfortable with and so fascinated by those bodies. Bodies have parts, they have insides, they're possible to take apart just like any other object. People, less so.
Before I had any experience healthcare or BDSM, I loved gory horror movies. My degree is in film, and I wrote my thesis on trashy horror films, then later worked as set decorator and propmaster on one. As far as I know there isn't a tremendous correlation between kinky people and horror fans, which surprises me. Then again, I haven't watched that much horror lately. I still enjoy it, but when I can get myself tied up and tortured and feel my own body being treated like a piece of meat... I don't crave it. There's comparisons to be made between the ER and horror movies too but I feel wrong making them.
A large brown bird swooped between trees, only a few feet away but without a sound. From the silence, I think it was an owl staying up late. I looked for it in the tree but it had disappeared among the branches. High overhead, from a different tree, I heard the cry of a hawk. Little sparrows flitted around close to the ground.
When I have to take care of a dead person, I always find myself talking to them. Not in a big emotional dramatic way, not offering grief or blessings. But not in a cavalier joking way either. I just talk to them the way I talk to patients, calm and nicey-nice and narrating what I'm doing. "'Scuse me ma'am, I gotta reach across you here for a second, thanks." It's just a habit.
I started to walk back to my car. The rain was still falling gently, the air filled with the cool smell of wet grass.
Sex and BDSM are the restorative factors in my own life. They don't take strength; they give me the strength that I can carry out into difficult situations, or the joy that lets me really enjoy the rest of the world. Life is better with a kiss still lingering on your lips, or a bruise just below the neckline of your scrubs. Life is easier.
Sitting on a rock out in the rain doesn't make life easier, but sometimes it makes it make a little more sense.