forrest lane's prose

4

T O D A Y   I N   P H O T O G R A P H S   2/2/17  º   2/19/17

ft. spookyfaith

“It was the perfect kind of rain to drive home to – the kind of cold, unpredictable rain that could turn to snow at any moment. I thought about how many people were driving at that moment, the magnitude of other peoples messy lives still surviving, holding onto the last parts of the night hoping it won’t end. I find my own feelings beautiful and flawed, the way I’ve learned more about myself in the time I’ve spent laughing with you in your bed than the rest of my life before you. I’ve little more than a glitched mind and a few photo albums to offer you, so when my hands brush against yours, or our shoulders touch because we meant for them to (or didn’t), sometimes I imagine I’m a better version of myself, a version with something to give, a version of value. Because, it’s true, I do love myself, and all the cracks and fissures other people have left have just made me a hell of a lot more interesting. The truth is, the worst parts of me are the one’s I’ve made up all on my own.

It’s strange to feel both trivial and important, comfortable and nervous at the thought of you. These few adventures we’ve had are a small portion of what I want to show you. I’ve spent enough time folding in on myself that I’m as strong as I could ever be on my own. We’ve only just started growing together, and sure I’m already a tangled mess but we’ve only just started. That’s all I can promise.”

Forrest

5

And finally, one night, we’ll lay awake, both unable to sleep because sometimes moments shouldn’t have to end, and these coyotes in the distance will be heard by more than just my own ears, and as they sing for us, we’ll both smile and you’ll bury your head in my chest and I’ll finally find rest.

rainstormshowerpourmistdownpoursoakpetrichor

ᴩᴀʀᴛ 2

I wont ever tell you this, but that day it rained and we shared an umbrella to see our best friend at work I cried so hard all the way home because I am a storm in disguise and I don’t want to ruin this.

I wont ever tell you this, but it rained all day today and it was cold and I shared it with you. I don’t know how today felt to you, so I’m hesitant to say this but when you looked back at me while we walked out of the theatre, and the lights from the projector made perfect stars in your eyes, all I could think about was seeing them open first thing each morning.

I wont ever tell you this, but when you wore a dress and met me I imagined that dress hanging next to my shirts in our closet.

I wont ever tell you this, but the night we kissed I could smell your hair and I imagined your shampoo bottle next to mine in our shower when you said “I enjoyed that more than I thought I would.”

I wont ever tell you this, but none of these things exist to me but in my dreams about you and lately I’ve been trying to sleep more because I know I’ll see you, but God, it rains so much these nights. 

--forrest lane

A Photo Essay About Humans

by Forrest Lane

I think missing friends is a lot like being homesick and homeless, or maybe I’m wrong and it’s more like being a wanderer who’s seen it all, because sometimes at night I can’t really tell whether tomorrow will be the best day or the worst day, but I know that dreams seem unreachable so days will blend into weeks and I’ll lose track of words again.

Sometimes when I take a photograph, and I know I’ve got an amazing shot, I keep it for myself because I don’t want others to think I’m always that good. I often feel that my luck outweighs my skill or creativity in any endeavor, so I find myself keeping my terrible photographs for myself as well so I can hear them mock me each time my hard drive whurrs back to life.

When I look at a photograph, too often I find myself in the greys between the blacks and the whites. And so, when I look at the world I see only the grey.

I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes, on the rare occasion that I do see the world in color, it can be beautiful.

Or it can be sad and beautiful.

And I think I’d rather know someone who understands that people are mostly sad and beautiful, because I think they are the most important type of person.

5/6/15

You put your head on my shoulder and with your dad’s old tent and both our Jansports in the backseat of your car, I tried to drive you away from all the messes that kept on hurting you. The roads got narrower and narrower as we got further and further away, slowly stifling all the feelings we were leaving behind. Just as I pressed the brake to park, you woke up still holding onto my right arm. And with your favorite song playing (you know, the one that doesn’t remind you of anyone or any one thing), and the mountains at our feet, we welcomed in the first rays of sunlight of the perfect day, the perfect moment to still be alive.

Forrest

We are all just storms with skin stretched over our problems.

It rained here today, and I felt like a storm trapped in a storm and I’ve never been surrounded by more people and felt so alone. The sky shattered today, and from it fell tears of shattered glass and they bounced around and glistened prettily in the golden sunset light, but it got dark again just like it always does, and it got cold again just like it always does and I need you to both light my way and keep me warm but you’re a ghost. I got out your old journal today just to hold onto it while the storm threatened the integrity of my foundations. It rained. Oh my god did it rain. Not for any single thing in particular, but for the sake of the storm inside me, for the sake of release, for the sake of a careful moment trapped in my mind. It doesn’t rain often anymore, but when it does, it sure does flood.

I struggled for a long time with the thought of being a writer and someone else’s written word. Or how it was easier to take a photograph than it was to be in one. Or how I never minded being broken down to smaller pieces to make it easier for others to swallow. But it was raining on my birthday when I realized I was comfortable being your dried ink, because I was happiest with you as mine and that I want to take a million photographs of you but I want another million of us together and that I’m a better me as a whole me and I don’t have to amputate parts of myself to keep you in my arms.

–Forrest

Forgetful by Design

I find it gratifying that in ten days, I’ll have forgotten how you tasted.

In three weeks, all those times I breathed in your little breaths between kisses won’t matter anymore. My body will replace each cell that ever breathed you in until I have a new set of lungs. It’ll take a month, but my skin will have forgotten how you felt when my new shell is complete. In half a year, my liver will have forgotten all the expensive scotch I replaced you with.

Biology classes taught me so much about the human body— the sweet taste of knowledge knowing that parts of me are designed to forget you. But that taste is bittered by how these bones that I felt you in can’t forget you, or by how my heart never gets replaced and so sometimes I still find you tangled up in my veins.

Whether I believe it or not, in time, you’ll be absent from my heart one day, completely. The tissues that forget you will outweigh all the others that seem to still hold onto you, but one thing remains:

I will always have my mind— 

The very mind that thought galaxies of you, the very mind that you re-programmed. I get asked all the time why I take photographs, but I’ve never given someone my real reason.

So here it is:

I take photographs so I can go back. Even when it hurts, sometimes I go back just to feel like I’m loved again, if only for a minute. Because with a photograph, I can remember just the good parts, and over time the bad parts fall away.

Sometimes I find myself floating in those galaxies, and that’s the most dangerous place I’ve ever let myself go. I just wish that like my tastebuds or my lungs or my skin or my nails or my hair or my liver; that my brain was designed to forget you, because right now I can’t discern the good from the bad, and I simultaneously want to stargaze and stare at my feet.

–Forrest

5

I’ve always been fascinated by the way our mind remembers moments.

Our minds aren’t particularly graceful or efficient at this process so we often forget about important moments in our lives until a smell or a feeling or a photo or a song reminds us and the memories flood back in. Even at a young age, I found myself unwilling to forget important moments. I have lengthy journals that date back to when I was in first grade, and I’ve carried that tradition into maturity, as even now I keep a journal and try to write about the important moments in my life daily.

An extension of my need to collate my memories has always been found in my passion for photographs. I am a photographer and I take photos for a living, but the photos I love the most are the ones of my friends and I. I am honored and blessed to have the best friends in the world, and keeping a catalog of photos of my favorite moments with them is important to me. I want to remember every moment. Even if my memory is a little fuzzy. I want to remember these moments forever.

–Forrest

That’s the thing about significant others. You are already significant before they even exist in your life, and yet, slowly over time, there becomes this internal struggle to figure out who is more significant, them or yourself. There’s this realization that the choices we make are insignificant, because what matters— what is really beautiful is that struggle itself, and if we’re really, very lucky, we struggle beautifully along with someone else for the rest of our lives.

A Life, Outstretched

I spent too much time carving other’s names in rocks thinking I could create something permanent in my life. I remember the first night I fell asleep under the stars with nothing between me and them but an eternity. I remember what it’s like to wake up at 4am and drive eight hours to the World’s Largest Truck Stop because I wanted to. I spent too much time not doing and coming undone, instead of doing and living.

There are beautiful people living lives that outstretch even their own beauty. They are adventurers, explorers. They are doers. I spent too much time stuck in the mud to ever find myself stuck in it again. I planned three years to the brim with life experiences. I discovered all there was to discover in the Carolinas. I went to Vegas, back to Europe. I went fishing in Florida, and camped so many times on different beaches that I learned to love the feeling of tiny shores between my toes.

A while back, I started a new project. While I certainly had great memories in my hometown, I had some awful ones too. I started reclaiming my town. Each place that I, over time, had decided was too hard to go or too sad to be in, I started making new memories at. I took my camera, I brought a friend, and I started new. That project is never ending.

New, good memories aren’t created with just good intentions. If they were, there’d be no need for this personal project. Just as there will always be photographs that are too hard to look at, or songs that set my bones on fire and burn me from the inside out, there will always be places that are bad memories. There will always be a small chance that a good memory, will become a bad memory.

And it’s the really really good ones that turn out to be the worst ones sometimes. I really hate that.

Here’s to new memories; good or bad.

6/12/15 Long Drives and Soft Lips

It took me a long time but now it feels like forever has passed since I learned that summers weren’t just another season to let pass by. I learned that kisses are the best kind of secrets –the kind that mistake the lips for ears. I learned that the songs spilling out of car windows were much more than white noise, but rivers of sunburnt memories spilling from vehicles. I learned that a lot can happen in a little time but nothing feels like summer except summer.

I used to stress about the cloudy parts of my life until a summer storm rolled in during the sunset and the whole sky was purple and red and the whole world was alive. I don’t dread the clouds anymore; I welcome them because I believe in the innate perfection of the imperfect.

Today was the first day that felt like summer in a long time because to me, summer has always been dirty hands and sticking to the seats. It’s always been long drives and soft lips. It’s always been a dead phone battery and a warm heart. And tonight, you felt like summer and I found myself hoping one day I’ll be able to say “Summer, to me, has always been you because summer to me has always been us.”

–Forrest

2

We Stood

Beneath the two big oak trees on the hill looking up at the beautiful gnarled mess wondering out loud about how many miles of roots we stood above.

Being an insomniac, I’ve spent my whole life being tired, but I’ve never felt more tired than when I was slipping between the fingers of others or trying my best not to fit the molds they formed with someone else. I hate the idea of becoming the sum of someone else’s parts so I often have to love the parts of me that have started to turn stale, hoping I haven’t let them sour me. I was thinking hard about all the unimportant first impressions I’ve ever had to make. How easily forgettable people can be, and how I, like everyone, find myself slipping between fingers too. Sometimes, I crave that feeling.

I’ve struggled awhile now with my own foundations. A long time ago, someone I loved told me that I was an old home with squeaky floors. When I was younger, I thought love was red bows around fingers or names carved in trees, but now I know that it’s tangled roots, knotted veins.

I’ll always remember you for the way your lips brushed up against my cheek when you whispered to me for the first time. When someone says your name, that’s the memory that’ll play in my head, but I also get to hold onto so much more: like the early breakfasts at sunrise with hands clasped or the hide and seek grass stains from the orchard or the long walks from the bar to your home breathing cold air or the night by the lake or the fire we shared. I cave at the thought of ever having to forget a single thing, so I replay these memories over in my head, hoping that these are the parts that people see of me.

Left to myself, I’d become stale –I know this– and that’s exactly why the best part of this tangled mess of memories is this: we’re not yet finished growing together.

–Forrest

Beautiful, Simple

She was shy smiles in a restaurant booth and on cloudy days she smelled like rain. She was dew in the mornings; starry nights in the evenings. In the fall, she was the most vibrant leaf falling from the tallest branch. She was a book to get lost in on a perfect spring day. There was always a flower behind her ear. She was all the simple things. She was all the beautiful things.