Mario Villalobos


  • Journal

I went to the river to think. I parked near an old fire pit with a used diaper in it, a fitting symbol for humanity. I pulled out my camera and snapped some pictures, but then I stopped and listened. I listened to the birds and the river and the wind, and I felt both so ashamed and so overwhelmed by the beauty around me. This was the first time in my eight years living in Montana that I made this drive. That’s eight years of taking where I live for granted. The drive down didn’t take long at all, and I wonder how many more days could have been better lived if I just got into my car and started the engine.

I wish I wasn’t so anxious all the time. I wish it was easier for me to get out of my own way and just live. But it’s not. I have built up these walls around me to make me feel safe and secure from the world, and I’m only now realizing how much better I’d be without them. Even now, as I’m writing this in my home, I feel comfortable behind my walls. They have protected me my whole life, and I’m having a tough time imagining a world without them. But if yesterday taught me anything, it’s that the world is too big to enclose behind walls.

On a whim, I pulled out my microphone and connected it to my phone. I recorded ten minutes of the sounds around me, and when I listened to it later in the day, I experienced this sense of freedom I’ve never felt before. It’s beyond the “anything is possible” platitude I want to say but know isn’t enough to capture my feelings. The walls are still there, and I doubt they’ll ever be gone completely, but I can feel them expanding, even just a bit, and maybe that’s all I need to get started.