It is the end of a year. It was not an easy year. I look back on the year past and wince shielding my inner-eye from the pain of my mother’s illness and death, the blur of unexpected activity, long hours spent on the road traveling between Minnesota and Illinois: winter weather, freezing fog, snow squalls, and then the transition to early spring, pasque flowers, plum blossoms, first trumpeter swans, first wood ducks, muskrats coursing across ponds, robins, Canada geese, first wood anemone, first hepatica, red trillium, nodding trillium until early-May and my mother’s death. And the coping that followed — attending to the estate, moving a child from college to college, visiting family, hiking alone on week nights and weekends — and then suddenly it was autumn and then early winter. And now it is the end of the year.
I leave this year with disjointed thoughts, the thoughts of a person not yet healed, not quite ready to leave behind the pain of yesterday to embark on new adventures, to regain a foothold on the path of life. I recognize that on my journey, this is where I am; I cannot pretend otherwise…but every once in a while, I feel the energy of adventure, and I know that I am on the cusp of something new and interesting. I know that my mind is feeling its way toward the light. Sometimes — sometimes — I am interested, intrigued, by what might be around the next bend, or across the field, or within the woods. In those moments I feel pulled to follow; and sometimes I do.
In those moments, filled with the possibility of what might be, I hear the words of the 13th century poet Rumi —
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
Caught outside my grief, I take up my snowshoes and camera and head out across the field or into the woods. It is as Rumi wrote:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
Out beyond the ideas of loss and sadness, there is a field. There is life. You can come, too, if you like.
Rumi (2004). The Essential Rumi (Coleman Barks, Trans.). New York, NY: HarperCollins.