The past few years have been filled with loss and uncertainty – as if I’ve been tracking the national Zeitgeist – complete with the loss of my father, two beloved dogs, a job or two and specifically, passion and creativity. The publishing world has changed immeasurably and my heart has made nearly a full revolution, from believing anything was possible to believing it was all over and why bother, to a shaky hopefulness.
As with any loss, we work our way through the stages of dealing and come to a place of acceptance. Change rattles us – our sense of self, of connection, of commitment – and yet spring arrives unbidden and we watch in amazement as hopeful plants push up arduously and ardently toward the light, birds sing and build their nests, make babies and we reawaken.
I celebrated my 60th birthday this spring and though I stand in awe and wonder at the passage of time, I measure its passing by reflecting on the fact that at my age my parents retired and moved to a state hundreds of miles away from where they were born and raised. They built a log cabin and lived (by their lights) an adventurous life for many years. My mother moved away from the family home 6 months ahead of my father, rented a house and obtained a gun for protection. She invited him to join her with the caveat that if he declined, she was moving anyway. This from my mild mannered, yet determined, church-lady mother. She was going to have her adventure. My father soon followed.
And so I take heart in the singular bravery and fortitude of a woman I laughed at and wished was more than she was. After her Bible, her favorite book was entitled “How to Make Something from Nothing”. Indeed, she was ahead of her time, one of the original DIY stay-at-home moms, and made the most of what she had to work with.
Upon reflection – for my parents and the universe – I give thanks for these hands and this time and what I choose to make of it. And so… back to the drawing board.