She heard it calling out to her. Her clearing in Yellowstone -- it was whispering that it longed for her presence. And on this day, when she felt like the world was collapsing around her -- its edges bent and frayed and its fringes burning up in smoke -- she dragged herself there up winding paths and wild trees.
While most people saw Yellowstone as a national park, she saw it as her backyard, her sanctuary, her refuge. She had a clearing there, all her own, that bears in the hundreds of years they'd been there hadn't even found. But she had lost the final race. While all those other days in which she sought refuge felt like short-term failures, this was defeat, absolute and unbudging. This was the sort of defeat that couldn't even bring tears; just a dry face crumpling in weak, helpless hands.
Yellowstone comforted her because of its sounds. Cricket chirps immediately made her see tiny bursts of intense, blue firelight twinkling at the edges of her vision, in and out of the shrubbery while rustling leaves made her see a distant silhouette of a ballerina. It wasn't just a wild imagination; it was wired into her very nerves.
So she sat in the clearing, put on her headphones, and listened to what they told her of life and its downs and its occasional, fleeting ups. She saw vivid pink butterflies float across her vision, unafraid of her or the 80s rock escaping from her ears. Her synesthesia helped make a dark world a bit lighter. And for that she was extremely grateful.