I was out the other morning with my son and we found this little cemetery where several Revolutionary War veterans were buried. It had such a beauty to it.
Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
I visited this tree on a walk recently. It’s in a field behind where I grew up. We used to spend hours… days and nights playing out there. Building pretend worlds. Stories of lives we would live. My sister and brother. Sometimes the kids from the neighborhood. It’s a shorter walk these days. Everything is smaller. The pretend worlds are harder to imagine. And I wish I could talk to that little girl with her freckles and her braids and her eyes that were still wide and innocent and a little too big for her face. I wish I could whisper in her ear, kind things. True things. Things to make her real world as beautiful as her pretend ones. I wish I could make her feel that safe again. That hopeful. Maybe. Maybe I can.
It’s impossible when light shines brightly enough, not to be exposed. Yesterday, I had a conversation where the light was pretty bright. Tired of hiding from it, I stood there. Loosened my stiff neck. Opened my heart. And let the light, well… enlighten. And while it was painful, what the light revealed was bigger than my pain. It was bigger than the whole of me. And I want something bigger than me right now. Surrendering to it was the only thing I could do. Not because I’m great, but because I’m not.
“Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.” ― David Bayles Art&Fear
Auld Lang Syne. I have given this song some consideration and appropriately so. It seems like my life, not unlike the lives of others, has been nothing but letting go and starting again. Letting go. Of times. Of long ago and not so long ago. And starting again. And again. And today is no different. I suppose I have always known it and I have made a vow to begin living it. Good and bad… letting go. Forgetting what I can. The bad will be easy enough to let fall away. But I think, as I head forward, I will try to let fall from my heart some of the good too. To make room for more good to come in. I think it will be like waving goodbye to a trusted friend… letting go of a hand… glad for the way it filled my heart once, a little sad to see it go, but hopeful that I am fuller because of it and open to welcome what comes after. So, take a cup of kindness and have a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year.
I know there’s a saying about missing the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest or something. I never was much good at those sayings. And behind the clever little words is supposed to be this incredibly profound meaning… that someone has summed up in a few clever little words. Anyway, I think I’m doing it. I am missing the forest for the trees this time. I’m looking and waiting and waiting some more for this life to start. And I’m working around and running smack into obstacles. Trees. Life. And I find myself wishing these days away… so I can get to the forest. Instead of seeing that this IS the forest. With these beautiful trees. Life. And I’m in it. It’s here. Around me. Bigger and taller than I’d imagined. Softer and harder. With little winding paths. And fog and branches so that sometimes, it’s a little unclear… and scratchy. Wow. This is the forest.
Yesterday, I was in bed staring out the window at the fog. Just staring. And rather than grabbing my camera, I just laid there. By ten o’clock when it finally burned off, I felt a little regret, but not much. This morning, I woke up to more fog. Despite my sluggishness, I got dressed, picked up my camera, one lens and went in search of some beauty. Reluctantly. And then I was there. In it. In its silence. In its grace.
“… I dream myself a million times around the world… “
more lyrics. They’re just lyrics. And I’m sure Dave Matthews didn’t have me in mind when he wrote them. But they seemed to fit. In two weeks, I’ll be making a move. And it feels like I asked, Mother-May-I please take two giant leaps forward, and she said, No, but you may take four thousand baby steps backward. The use of a childhood game in my metaphor was no accident, by the way. I am moving back to my hometown. Where I grew up. Or didn’t. The point is, I tried to avoid it and I heard myself saying out loud several times over the past few years, I did the best I could. But did I? Have I ever? People have told me it’s a step forward. It’s change and change is good. It’s just a transitional time. And I do try to see it that way. But in the middle of the night… when it’s me, alone with every memory of every bad choice I have ever made… about to pack up my life and leave it packed… it doesn’t feel … good. So, I close my eyes, and I dream myself a million times around the world. again.
There’s a line from a song, “… if you’ve never stared off into the distance then your life is a shame.” (Counting Crows) I’ve done a fair amount of staring off into the distance. Especially in the last few years. Maybe too much staring. Not enough doing. Too much distance. Not enough now. So, I made a decision. I hope it’s not a mistake. I hope if it is, I learn something from it. I think it’s good to stare once in a while. But, for me, it’s time to take a deep breath and go.