A Blank Page

To sit with a blank page in front of me,
and pen in hand,
stirs a thoughtfulness within,
a deep calm,
a solemn peace.
For when I am engrossed
in composition,
I am in the moment.

When delving into dreams of the future
I must carry the words home,
here…
to this page…
to this moment.

When fading into memories of the past
I must still return
here…
to this page…
to this moment.

Now.

Now,
as my dogs sleep nearby,
and cars drive by,
and the September rain slides
down my windowpane,
and the light leaves the sky,
I am here.

To sit with a blank page
in front of me,
and pen in hand,
reminds me
I am here.

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Scribbles

I used to be an open book, held out for the world to read.

Then people scribbled all over the pages. They wrecked the story I was creating, the art I was living.

So I began to hold my book closely, closed, clutching it to my chest. Protected.

Eventually, I began to feel lonely. What is the point of a story if no one reads it? How interesting is art if no one contributes to it but the artist?

My freshman year of high school, a classmate, a known prankster, took a notebook of mine and scribbled on the first twelve pages; he wasn’t being malicious, just being a freshman boy. So, I started taking my notes on page thirteen.

Over the course of the semester, my dear friend, who is a wonderful artist, drew an picture out of every scribble. They were creative, inspired, and delightful.

I still have that notebook thirty years later. And it still makes me smile when I look through it.

That is how I am going to live my story.

I will no longer hold my book close to me; I will dare to open it up to the world again and revisit the freedom, the innocence, the exuberance of youth.

There will be hurt, that is guaranteed, but I will take each scribble, whether it is malicious or unintential, and see what shapes I can find within it, discover what can created from it, and make my own unique art out of it.

And when I doubt myself, I’ll pull out my old freshman notebook and smile, remembering something inspired and delightful can be created from every scribble.

Sheriff Brody

When you live in a house for ten years, you come to know all of the neighborhood dogs, even those you’ve never met. You recognize their barks, calling to one another across fences and yards, down streets and alleyways. They pass secret messages to one another and information of great importance, such as:

“Hey! A squirrel is heading your way!”

“Get out of my yard, cat!”

Or most often, I imagine, “Did you hear that?”

These dogs I’ve never met have taken shape in my imagination: the dog down the street who cries out a long stream of excited barks every time he’s let outside is a medium-sized mutt of many colors with fluffy tufts under his ears; the loud, occasional woof comes from a big, black lab who’s barking just for something to do; the yapper is a miniature, white, overly animated dog with anxiety issues; and on the other side of the wall which borders the north side of our yard is the small, yet tough-sounding, scrappy barker I called the wildling.

Then there are the dogs I know…

Across the street, my neighbors have huskies, easily distinguished by their distinctive howls. Next door is a lovable duo–a low-key chocolate lab and a furry, troublemaking, little rascal. And behind our house, the dog known as Sheriff Brody.

When my husband and I bought this house we were elated to leave behind the noise of a rental house on a busy street for a quieter neighborhood. Even though we’d only moved a few blocks away, it made all the difference. Traffic had been steady, day and night. Beer trucks gunned their engines up the steep hill, people sped by on their way to and from work, and snow plows/garbage trucks/street sweepers were a constant noise.

At our new house, we could still hear traffic, but it was a soft din. We embraced it as the sound of our town thriving, people going about their lives—our neighbors, our family, our friends.

The first morning we couldn’t have been happier. We owned a home! We had waited so long. We’d worked hard, we’d saved, and we’d searched a long time for the right place. And now we’d finally moved into our own house.

Then, at 7:00 AM, “Bowowowowow!”

It was a big dog, we could tell. And it was close.

Another “Bowowowowowow!” came a minute later.

We got up and looked out the back window to see our neighbors’ yellow lab sitting on their deck overlooking our backyards, occasionally breaking the morning silence with a good old-fashioned, big-dog bark.

We watched him for a few minutes, sipping coffee, laughing about how much better it was than waking up to hundreds of cars and trucks speeding by, then went on with our day. Truthfully, we didn’t mind. We both had to get up for work anyway.

The next morning it happened again.

And the next. And the next.

The dog was a yellow lab named Body, but for some reason we called him Brody, and eventually that turned into Sheriff Brody, after the character in Jaws (which we watched years later and realized his name was actually Chief Brody. But that was for the best; there was only one Sheriff Brody.)

He was an older dog, and as sweet and mellow as could be. He never barked at any other time of the day–unless a siren went off at the fire station. Then he would let out a mournful howl that came from the very depths of his doggie soul. It was a howl of longing, perhaps one telling the world that somewhere deep within him the wildness remained.

Sometimes his owners would howl when they were on their deck with friends and it would cause the Sheriff to howl along with them. (If you have a dog who howls, you know you’ve done this…) Those coerced howls never sounded as mournful as the howls for the fire alarm, though. That siren struck a chord within him, like when we hear a song that brings tears to our eyes, or a certain note on the piano that strikes a melancholy within.

During the day, when Sheriff Brody was in his yard, our dogs would run to the fence barking ferociously. He would look at them passively, walk to the fence and sniff, then lay down in the shade. He never barked back. He never reacted. He was completely quiet … except for when that siren rang, and at 7:00 AM in the morning.

So we had bought a new home with a built in alarm clock that was perfect for a pair of dog lovers. We left behind the sound of traffic and traded it for an old lab welcoming a new day by calling out into the morning sky. It was wonderful while it lasted.

Sheriff Brody passed away a few years later. He had a nice, long life with good owners, but it was still sad. It always is. We miss the best alarm clock we ever had to this day. He was our introduction to the fact that when you own a home, things don’t often go as planned, but sometimes, if you go with the flow, they may turn out even better than you imagined.

Some mornings I wake up thinking I hear him, but I know it’s only a memory. Those mornings I get my coffee, look out my back patio and imagine him, sitting quietly, content, gazing across the yards behind his house, occasionally sniffing. Then his body flexes and his head flattens out and he puts his snout in the air, letting out a “Bowowowowow” for all he is worth.

I remember the fog of his breath on cool mornings.

And sometimes, when the fire alarm goes off in town, I call out a wild and wolf-like howl in his honor, and wonder if he is howling along.

Rest in peace, Sheriff Brody. You were a good boy.

Fireflies and the First Dance

We didn’t see them coming. They surrounded us as we lay in lounge chairs on the beach, wrapped up in sleeping bags–because even though it was late June, nights were still cold on the sandy shores of Lake Superior.

We had been too engrossed in laziness, watching the horizon change colors, melding from pink to red to dark blue. We had been too captivated by the lights of the ore boats gliding across the surface of the lake, following them as they crested the horizon, then faded away into the distance, listening for the soft hum of the engines, and actually being able to hear them from miles away in the deep silence. We had been too focused on spotting the first few stars as they revealed themselves in the moonless, darkening sky.

The first fireflies that flitted about on the periphery of our eyesight–before the great horde enveloped us–had seemed like nothing unusual. They’re a common sight in the northern landscape on summer nights. They’re something all children, at one time or another, has chased across their backyard at a late night barbecue, or has captured in a jar to ponder for a while, marvelling at the magic of the odd, cold light until their parents made them unscrew the lid and set the winged creature free. Although fireflies make an appearance every summer, it is only for a few, short weeks, and it was a lucky night when we saw two or three in the yard.

They affirmed for me, as a child, that there really was magic in the world.

This magic of the firefly begins when they hatch from eggs in late summer into larvae, known as glowworms. They live in the soil for a few years, then construct a mud chamber in the soil into which they settle. In this little mud chamber, their larval body is broken down and they transform into their adult form, emerging when the conditions are right as the twinking firefly, ready for its first sky dance. This stage of flickering light lasts only three to four weeks while the fireflies mate. There are many species of fireflies around the world, and all of them undergo this metamorphosis on their life journey.

Although my husband and I both enjoyed fireflies in our childhood, the great swarm that surrounded us so swiftly and silently was not our usual experience. We discovered, as we looked behind us at the wide expanse of beach to the tree line, that instead of one or two lights, the entire pine forest was alight, as if hundreds of strands of lights had been strung while we were watching the sun slide behind the lake. Thousands upon thousands of nature’s strobe lights danced in the night sky around us, twinkling and bobbing erratically down the vast sand beach stretching for miles in either direction.

It was a firefly dance party on the beach, and we had crashed it.

As the stars appeared, one by one, or in two or threes, the sky began to mimic the beach. I would  look away for one momenyt, watching a spectacular firefly dance move, and when my eyes returned to the sky I would find three new stars were out, as bright as if they had been there all along. The Big Dipper appeared directly in front of us over the lake, poised to scoop water out of the great basin.

As it grew darker, the Milky Way revealed itself, stretching across the sky from the lake horizon,  sweeping over our heads, then disappearing behind the treeline. When it was full night, we could no longer see the line between water and sky. All that remained was darkness and light.

The firelies did not radiate enough light to make it brighter, but held a light that was self-contained, like the stars. Their biolumenescence, which is caused by a chemical reaction, is the most efficient in the world, with all of the energy being emitted as light and none as heat. But to me, it just seemed like the stars had come to Earth to spend the evening on the beach with us.  And they were dancing.

I have thought about that night many times since. It is my happy place, where I go to reaffirm the dream that my life can be whatever I make of it…and to remind myself that there really is magic in the world.

I have seen the stars dancing.

It was the night I began to metamorphise as well. I had been in my mud chamber, burrowed in the ground, being broken down. I was ready to begin transforming, springing forth wings and learning to sparkle and fly.

I brought home two rocks from the beach that had been rounded by the waves. They have embedded stones and swirls within them. Though they are gray and somewhat drab, the amalgamation reminds me of the fireflies, the swirls, the milky way. They sit on my writing desk as a reminder of that night; a reminder that perfect moments do happen, and that I have to cherish them, hold them in my thoughts, continuously smoothing them, remembering.

Since then, I have made many changes in my life–at times fearlessly, and at times merely pretending to be fearless.

I’ve found it works either way.

There are many more steps to go before I can say I danced without abandon on the beach under the Milky Way on an inky black, summer night. But I keep working towards it. I have felt a few flickers of light within and my wings are getting stronger every day…

The Secret to Happiness

The small, yellow cabin on the shore of Lake Superior was built by our friend’s father in the 1950s. It faces west, toward the vast lake and a sandy beach that stretches for miles in either direction. To the north, a rocky shoreline rises and curves, creating a long sweeping bay. A monastery is perched on the cliff, hidden entirely by thick tree cover, except for the large metal cross on the peak which occasionally catches afternoon sunlight. The monks who live there have a small store where they sell baked goods and homemade jam from raspberries and thimbleberries they grow on their property. To the south there is only beach, with a small, sandy point miles away, reaching out into the lake, creating the other arm of the bay. Past that, I don’t know…

When my husband and I arrived in the Keweenaw Peninsula I didn’t know how that beach was going to change me. I didn’t know that over the course of five days I would learn the secret to happiness.

The beach is over a hundred feet of soft sand from the edge of the tree line to the water, and it’s the kind of sand that sings when you walk on it–but only the dry sand, the saturated sand near the shore is silent. The sound of the lake is a melodic roar, a series of continuous notes creating a resonance that penetrates everything. It pulls, reaches out and eases tensions with its song. Being near it, I felt the relaxation similar to those few moments before I fall sleep when my body lets go of tension and sinks into comfort. I was ready to sink into that quiet serenity for days.

The first day was a typical June day in the Upper Peninsula, with temperatures wavering around seventy degrees, humidity so low that bright, blue sky could be seen between the branches of the pine trees, and a cool breeze cruising in from Lake Superior. As evening approached, we built a fire in the cabin’s wood-stove to combat the chill. Through the trunks of the tall red and white pines, we watched the sun set over the lake. I sat in a rocking chair by the fire and gazed out the front picture window at the oncoming night, thinking of the days when this was normal life, before the invasion of noise and too much information into every nook and cranny of our existence. The quiet, the dark, the disconnect was a relief. After my husband fell asleep, I spent many more hours sitting, thinking nothing, alone in the dark, with only the amber glow of fire for light. Ore boats passed silently by in the distance, gliding along the horizon.

The second day we walked around the camp searching for the fabled Pink Lady’s Slipper that we‘d heard recently bloomed. Lady’s Slippers are rare orchids which grow only in unique conditions. We found six in one sunken area in the woods, soft and mysterious, all connected by underground rhizomes. Then we found two by the beach, facing the lake as if they were gazing out across the water as I had been the night before. Later in the afternoon, we stumbled across another hiding near the wood shed. That night, inside the cabin, I read the book “The Legend of the Lady’s Slipper” which the owner of the cabin had thoughtfully left out. It tells the tale of an Native American girl who saves her village by traveling out in a terrible blizzard to a neighboring village for medicine. After sinking in the snow and losing her moccasins, she walks home barefoot, barely making it back, leaving bloody tracks in the snow. In the spring her footprints have become Lady’s Slippers.

The woman who owns the cabin has been an artist and art teacher for over 40 years. Her husband built the camp and they spent many summers here with their children. It is a place filled with love and creative energy, decorated with intriguing nature-inspired art: creatures made from driftwood and stones, animal tracks that have been plaster-cast and hung on the wall, jars of agates and other interesting rocks. Everything about the place inspired creativity. The ground around the cabin was a soft bed of pine needles and pine cones, with occasional strips and rings of birch bark. I found a scale of a red pine tree that resembled a child looking up with a curious expression, then found a piece that resembled the face of an old woman. I put the two together on a piece of birchbark with another piece of birchbark as flowing hair. It took a picture, then put them back outside calling it temporary art. I picked up rocks and driftwood on the beach, followed bird tracks in winding circles and studied the wind and water patterns in the sand.

My eyes were continuously drawn toward the water, and my feet led me back repeatedly to the shore. Every morning, every afternoon, every evening, called for walks on the beach.

The second night we wrapped ourselves in blankets and reclined in chairs on the beach.  A deer made a surprising appearance and even a few eagles. The slight, cool wind kept the mosquitos away as we watched the sunset. It took so long for the sky to grow dark! Dozens of shades of blue made their appearance, along with a few reds and pinks.

Then the fireflies appeared. First one, then ten, then hundreds, maybe thousands. All around us, down the beach and in the trees, magical lights flickered and bobbed.

Then came the stars. The Milky Way stretched from behind the lake over our heads into the trees. It was brighter than I had ever seen before! The Big Dipper spread across the sky in front of us, pouring its water directly into the lake. The fireflies made a spectacular showing, dancing all through the night. I couldn’t tell if the stars had come to Earth to dance with us or if the fireflies had made it all the way into the sky.

The third night we watched it grow dark again, except that night the air was thick and humid and the sky overcast. We walked the beach, hoping we could again watch the darkness overtake the day, but the bugs were too hungry. We ran for cover into the large screened porch filled with buckets of driftwood and decorated with colored globe lights on a string, fishing nets, a buoy that had washed up on shore, and a handmade brick on the table by the front door that had the impression of just one word in it.  Enjoy.

As I sat in the cedar swing, winded from running, smelling of campfire and putting Xs on my bug bites with my fingernail, I looked toward the lake and had a deep epiphany. The moment I thought it, contentment swelled and filled me…or possibly it emptied me…either way, I knew.

That’s what it’s all about. It is the secret to life. It’s the meaning of life.

Enjoy.

That is the plan for us–we are here to enjoy.

It’s so easy…enjoy.

That was exactly what we’d been doing all weekend. It was why we were able to walk the beach, again and again, without care. It was how we could just stare at the fire for hours or spend an afternoon seeking rare flowers in the forest. We were enjoying. Only that. It was something we desperately needed and were not allowing ourselves to do enough in our daily lives.

It’s incredible how hard it is to enjoy the wonderful things in the world and enjoy our precious lives. We always seem to be working toward some goal, continuously planning or achieving, concerned about our image, our reputation. We very rarely just ‘enjoy.’ The concept was so foreign to me, that I knew when I went back to my life I would actually have to work hard to do it. I laughed at the irony  to cover up the fact that I was a little ashamed. 

My husband looked at me quizzically, and I told him I just discovered the secret to happiness, picking up the brick and showing him. Before either of us had a chance to say a word, an icy breeze blew through the porch and the first lightning flashed over the lake. A moment later lightning flashed again and we began to hear thunder. A storm was coming. A warm front and a cold front were battling above the lake. First we would feel the warm front enveloping us like a hot, humid breath, then a cold blast of arctic air would chill the moisture on our skin. The winds fought for over an hour and we had begun to give up on the storm ever reaching us when we heard the deafening roar of billions of raindrops pounding the sand and water. It was so loud, so deep, rolling up the beach from the south, that I honestly became afraid. The wind picked up and the trees bent and swayed, then it was upon us.

The power went out immediately, which didn’t bother us since we only had the string of colored globes on. I lit a few candles and we sat in the dark, listening to the storm. After a while I realized I needed to feel the rain, so I stepped outside, barefoot, under the pine trees, and closed my eyes, turning my face upwards to feel the cold, refreshing rain. I opened my mouth, wanting the storm to become a part of me, catching raindrops on my tongue. Some of them were pine flavored.

Within moments I was drenched, but it was the most cleansing and revitalizing shower I have ever taken. 

After five days I was renewed. Like the lake, the things that were deep within me were swept from the bottom and pulled to the shore, to be examined like driftwood or tumbled stones. “Ah, here we see evidence of a shipwreck…and over here, a red stone tumbled and beaten upon the rocks until the edges are smooth and worn…and over here a jawbone of a fish…and there, a feather.” At times there was simply water and sand.

The final day we did the same things, walked the beach, picked up driftwood, sat in front of a fire. We enjoyed the silence. I had been afraid of silence, afraid to be alone with my own thoughts, afraid of what demons may arise. But during those beach days no demons arose, no fears, no regrets, only clarity. I realized the secret to happiness–that I have much to be thankful for, and so much that is worthy of enjoyment in my life. All I needed to do was take the time to enjoy it.

It Is Time

The little, rescued mouse,
Who licked my hand
And burrowed between my fingers,
In dying,
Finally gave us the courage
To bury the ashes of the dogs
We lost more than six years ago.
 
One went under a pear tree,
The other a peach,
And the little mouse under an apple.
 
How sad the loss of what might have been
For one so young and innocent.
How devastating the loss of those so loved
Which we could never fully let go.
 
It is time.
It is time.
 
One small heartbreak
Cracked open our hearts to grief,
Reopened our wounds from loss.
We gently touched the hurt places,
With tender fingers,
Finding fewer tears, less pain.
Finding they were ready to heal.
 
We were ready to accept the truth.
 
Every creature
Must return to the ground
(we cannot keep them)
Since it is the only way
They will grow again.
 
Every creature
Must be willing to let go
(however long it takes)
Since it is the only way
They will bloom again.
 
It is time.
It is time.

Saving Mr. Jingles

We found half of a mouse in the basement the other day. The back half. Not sure where the other half is, but I assume it’s in the belly of one of our cats.

We also found a whole mouse, cowering under my husband’s bass drum, a cat on either side of it–one all white and fluffy, one black and sleek–watching it intensely.

My husband pulled the mouse out and brought it upstairs. “What do we do with this?” he asked, motioning to the mouse sitting patiently in his hand. It was just a baby, fully furred, yet unstable on its feet, eyes slightly open, mouth suckling the air. It quivered uncontrollably. Undoubtedly, it had seen its sibling get bitten in half by a giant beast. We were torn.

At first we put him out in the woodpile, finding a sizable notch in a piece of wood and wrapping him in a garden glove. We dropped some flax seeds around him for nourishment. He nestled in and we left him there, hoping he would survive.

As darkness fell an hour later, we began to question our decision. Did we just sentence this little creature to death? Surely he’d freeze in the night; it would get down to fifty degrees overnight. Plus, there are stray cats out there all the time. Could he even eat solid foods yet?

My husband went out to check on him and came back twenty minutes later. “His name is Mr. Jingles,” he said, matter-of-factly. Of course it is, I thought, since he’s Stephen King’s #1 fan. Well, on second thought, he’s his #2 fan…

Once he had a name, we had no choice but to bring him in. We decided to keep him warm overnight, then free him to the wild when it was warmer. So, we poked holes in a shoebox and lined it with a piece of a fleece blanket. I made a concoction of half and half and warm water for him to drink. The internet said to feed him powdered kitten milk, but we didn’t know where to find something like that. (Was someone out there milking cats?) It was nine at night and we used what he had. He drank it, slowly, from an eye-dropper. After a few drops he quivered and we thought he was dying, but he didn’t. He climbed around the blanket, buried his nose into a fold and nestled in. He slept in our bedroom that night next to the heater.

Maybe we were crazy. Maybe we should have let nature take its course. But, we’re part of nature too, aren’t we? And, in a way, didn’t he have more of a right to live in our house than us? I mean, he has BORN here! (I know, I’m stretching it there…)

The next day he spent in the garage while we were at work. That evening we fed him by putting drops into our hand and he lapped them up. It worked so much better than the eye-dropper. He eagerly crawled into our hands when he sensed us near–his dexterous, gripping toes clinging for dear life as he climbed our fingers. As he walked more, he built strength and balance in those wobbly little limbs. The next few days were cold, so he became a full-time house dweller.

I’ll admit that after three days I felt a bit like a crazy person taking care of this little guy, but I figured I was doing it because we have four month old dachshund puppy and I have some ‘mother’s milk’ running through my body. The innocence is all too familiar; the trust too sweet. Or is it more than that?

I think the moment we knew we’d protect him and try to save him was when I ran a finger along his head and under his chin and he closed his eyes and stretched out his neck. He loved to be touched, to be pet, like one of our dogs or cats. He wasn’t ‘vermin,’ as some people would say. He was a scared, little creature asking for safety and comfort in a big world after he’d lost his family.

How could we refuse?

————————————–

I wrote the first half of this a few days ago, and really thought we were going to save Mr. Jingles. I had visions of creating a little home for him in our house, or letting him free in the garage, where he would come out and visit us when we were working on projects out there. (I probably watched too many Disney movies as a child…)

Last night he snuggled up in my hand for a while, then I lay him on my shirt as we watched a movie. He was fine until his back legs spasmed. Then his whole body spasmed. I tried to get him to eat, but he wouldn’t. He started gasping every few seconds, sucking in air. We each held him for a few minutes until he passed. We hoped he wasn’t in pain, but it was quick, and he wasn’t alone.

We thought he was going to make it. And we had been ready to take on the responsibilities. We were feeding him numerous times a day, making sure he was pooping (he did so…in my hand, often…) and we kept him warm. But, it wasn’t enough.

We only had him for four days, but he became a part of our family, however briefly. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a few tears when he died, and I went to bed sad, and a little shocked, with no shoebox on the floor next to the heater.

We knew the odds were against us, but we tried. I’m glad we tried. I hope he is too.

I know this happens all the time–people try to save birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other animals who are orphaned or injured. But why? Is it just instinct to care for those who are helpless? Or do we have so much love inside of us that we can give, and give, and give and never be empty?

I hope so. That’s a nice thought.

We did love that little guy; he had personality. 

We’ll bury him in the backyard under a fruit tree. And we will remember Mr. Jingles.

IMG_1434

 

Smiling Into The Sun

In the north, our summers are short and the winters long, so when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds, it is essential we turn our faces towards it, slow down, and enjoy the warmth it brings (even if there’s still two feet of snow on the ground!). Taking time to notice and appreciate those sweet moments of contentment help us become happier beings in this tumultuous world; they can help us enjoy our journey here more.

When we turn our faces toward the sun, the shadows fall behind us. We can still know the shadows are there; we just don’t focus on them.

If you have a moment when you enjoy the warmth on your cheeks after a long, cloudy week, please share it. Maybe it was a kind word from a stranger, a smile from a neighbor, or someone paid for your coffee for no reason at all. Maybe you worked out (finally!) or had a day where you just felt fantastic. Those moments happen more than we notice. Let’s pay attention. And by sharing them, we can bask in the glow of each other’s sunshine.

Post your good moments here–those worth remembering, worth celebrating, worth sharing.

Or post a picture of yourself smiling into the sun.

Spread the warmth.

What We’ve Lost & What We Keep

Something is missing. It has been neglected, lost, forgotten.

This something was so important to us as children, so important to our life’s purpose, so undeniably a part of our story that we thought we would never forget it, never stop wanting it. Yet in order for us to be productive, responsible members of society it had to be pushed away, pushed down, pushed aside, from the main focus of life to simple fantasy.

Didn’t it?

And it’s been so long since we’ve thought about that something, that dream, that it’s hard to remember it now. With each passing moment of the daily routine it’s more difficult to feel the joy of wanting it.

What was it again?

It tugs at our sleeves like a child wanting attention, a child who still remembers, who still lives in the place where all things are possible. A child who still believes dreams are attainable.

What was it again?

Someplace inside of us is empty.

Some people have this realization and throw everything out the window–divorcing their spouses, quitting their jobs, cutting ties with friends and leaving town at a run. For them, it’s the only way they can find what they are missing; they keep nothing of the lives they’ve built, even that which is good. They must start from scratch. Many don’t know what they’re running towards, only what they are running from–the emptiness within them. Others know what they are running toward–a life more authentic to their true self. They run with the wind at their backs, leaving nothing behind except footsteps in the sand.

But, what if we don’t want to give up the life we’ve created?  Can we run with the wind at our backs toward everything we have ever wanted, while still loving and appreciating the precious things we want to keep?

I believe we can.

We don’t have to leave our lives behind to find the part of us that was undeniable, the part that burned and refused to take no for an answer. Instead, we can add those youthful dreams back into our lives, one by one, softly, with love and tender care, or fiercely, with passion and sheer life-force. We can slow down and respectfully decline to do things which do not serve our life’s purpose. We can cut down those mundane routines, allowing dust to build a little higher on the furniture, allowing items to remain unchecked on our lists. Perhaps we can quit making lists all together. We can let go of insecurities that have held us back.

We can promise to honor those dreams, making them a priority, allowing the joy of wanting them to again fill our hearts until it is overspilling with the exuberance of youth.

And eventually, we will remember.

New seed
is faithful.
It roots deepest
in the places
that are
most empty.
    – C.P. Estes