Sometimes I believe in serendipity. Sometimes I believe that serendipity actually knows where I live. This is one of those times. When a writer writes, we really toss our inner selves out into the light waves of the universe to be bandied about a bit in the head space of others. Some people skim over us like the headlines of the newspaper. Some people read and think “There but by the grace of God go I” while shaking their heads. And then sometimes, a few people really get it. They recognize kindred notions and thoughts and think “I know that thought, how did it get out of my brain and get over there?!?” It is how I met my two best friends, scattered across the U.S. We connected through the writing that I used to do, one of us, on a gardening forum. My other best friend and I connected through a study of the meaning of life, where week after we week we wrote of important spiritual things, seeking Truth. And recently a friend from high school and I connected also through my writing. Others write to me at times about things that I have written that make them think, make them examine their lives, their thoughts. If you are not a writer, a giver of self to the ether, you have no idea what magnitude of a compliment it is to hear someone say they connect to your writing. Many of the people that I have connected with through my writing have been in my life many years now, before I even started really writing publicly. Those bonds are strong and I appreciate them.
To share your thoughts, your fears, your joys and your heartaches in a public venue is really rather odd for an introvert. We tend to not like large groups of people, yet our words go before a large audience. I’ve done my share of public speaking and I must say I don’t care much for it. Small group story-telling, I’m up for that. Intense discussions one-on-one, I live for those. My connections are few, but they are extremely deep. It takes a large amount of energy to actually be a friend. I have limited energy, some of which is expended in my work life. Some of it is doled out to my family’s life. The rest I guard preciously to give to those who have meaning in my life. And I know my friends do the same for me as well, since they all have other things that take their energy too. For those gifts, I am grateful.
Recently I wrote about a hard life. Tonight I am watching a PBS special on Stephen Hawking. Wow. Talk about someone who could be described as having a hard life! Yet he is amazingly brilliant, and has a great sense of humor. I fuss about having to use my reading glasses, and this guy lives trapped in a body without even the inherent ability to SPEAK. Fifty years ago he was given two to three years to live. That’s tenacity. That’s a will to live. That is courage. How can we ever give up when there are examples like this before our eyes? The human spirit is an amazing thing. Nothing in science can capture it, define it, or even box it in. We should always keep such examples firmly before our eyes when events in our own lives threaten to overwhelm us.
So when I go to Tennessee in the Spring, I have a new place to check out. This trip will be for facing a few fears of mine. I plan to camp on a friend’s property, alone. My husband and I used to camp. This will be my first solo experience. I am at once invigorated and also terrified, I admit it. There’s nothing there that can hurt me – I am familiar with the area. It should still be cool enough that the snakes are sluggish, the beautiful Copperheads. Hopefully the ticks will not have sent forth their young quite yet. Nothing quite so annoying as seed ticks when one is alone, oy! I look forward to skies untouched by city lighting and the brilliance of stars uncovered. Perhaps there too, might an owl pair have found a home and delight me with their partnered hunting calls in the night. If it has warmed enough, the peepers might be singing their lively chorus as well. Can you tell that I miss it? I have often lay in my bed and walked my old property in my mind, remembering the huge wild blackberry patches that provided such succulent bounty completely untended. Recalled the largess of the sycamore leaves, some eighteen inches across. Brought to mind the pink blooms of the dogwoods that stood in my front yard. Remembered the volunteer strawberry patch I discovered while mowing. Tried to bring up the scents of thousands of wild violets as they sprung to life in the spring sunshine. Sunflower Solace will always live in my mind. But new discoveries await me. What will it be like? What species of trees will I find? What collage will the leafy carpet display beneath my feet? What will the light patterns look like through the silent sentinel trees lacking leaves? I can hardly wait, as the anticipation sits on me like a warming shawl – the discovery of some place new, some place disconnected from the city, some place wild – like the inside of me. A friend of mine from work gave me a photo that he took in Yellowstone that he said reminded him of me. It sits atop my TV stand here at home. It is a photo of a she-wolf in the snow, surveying the area. She is beautiful – regal, white with black undercoat, alert – yet she is at ease. Natasha Bedingfield has a song on YouTube – Wild Horses – it is one of my favorites of all times; it too, captures that desire to run free.
And so I count the days until my adventure. Will this end up being my new home, out among the wild things? A place where I can work, where I can play, where I can write, where I can grow food? Wilderness opens up so many things in us – feelings and emotions, trust, vulnerability, strength, peace, contentment. I am excited! I have to check my tent, make sure my camping gear is still in good shape since it has been in storage for a while.
Dawson Connor is doing well. I will finally get to hold him tomorrow night. I wanted to give them time to get settled into a routine at home before I go snatch him up for cuddles and coos, touch his oh-so-soft skin, look into those clear eyes and see if I can fathom what kind of human he will grow up into.
I love life. It is an amazing thing. We forget that in our day-to-day routines. We forget it sitting behind desks, driving on interstates, handling the mundane. We as humans I think, need space. We need that connection to the dirt, to the sky, to the rain, to growing things – in order to reconnect with who it is that we truly are behind our societal masks. So come, dream a little dream with me. And run with the wild horses.