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This week, I finally let her go. Turned her over the insurance company that had deemed her totaled even though it was only a fender bender. But she was old and belched smoke, and was scratched and dented and taped up in so many places she wasn’t worth saving. Thats what they said. I knew it was true, even though I resisted it. I had known it for over a year now but I was finally willing to admit it. She had been struggling through the last six months. She always came through but each time her effort made me realize just how unsure each trip was becoming.

In the weeks since she had been declared beyond hope I had shopped and searched for a new old car to replace her. At first overwhelmed I became excited and empowered as I searched for a car good enough to actually replace my lovely old car. I found one at last, a sleek wagon with lots of room for hockey equipment and carpools, fuel efficient and well cared for and so I called my adjuster and told him it was time. And as if to bring that message home, that night her front left tire went flat.

Many people aren’t attached to their cars–even their fancy, pretty, cars that can do all sorts of wonderous things. They trade them in after three years for something even better without a thought. That always struck me as more sane. But sane I am apparently not. For me, the older and more beat up my car became the more I loved her.

My car was simple and by no means anything to talk about but I loved her for what she did for me and what she witnessed. She brought me places safely. She carried me long distances and short distances and kept running, no matter how badly I treated her. I have to admit I kept coming up with excuses to go back out and run my hands along the back seat one more time. Even inanimate objects can love us and she loved us well.

Thanks you old girl for the 13 years you took care of us. Thank you for bringing my baby home safely from the hospital, for rocking him to sleep when he wouldn’t rest. Thank you for all the countless trips to preschool, for providing me shelter when I needed to sob in the driveway and get out my stress and sorrow before coming home to be “together and strong” mom. Thank you for seeming to expand almost magically to carry all our gear camping, for being a home to Max’s smelly hockey bag. Thank you for being a canvass for my bored toddler, for delivering me to work, to the doctor, to my loved ones. Thank you for being there when I needed to rush home, rush to school, rush to Max. You made it possible for me to rush. Thank you for carrying us without consequence through snow storms and ice storms and rain storms and for never dying in the heat–even when you had several non-working sparkplugs.

We will forever be grateful for the small and simple ways you made our lives easy, for the ways you allowed us to solve problems. I will not forget you. Nope. Not ever. I am grateful for the goodness your brought on all four wheels.

Blizzard of 2009

A couple of weeks ago now (it feels like a lifetime), Max and I were stuck in a terrible snowstorm. It was the kind of snowstorm that brings down trees and turns DC roads into a mess. Like everyone else, we left the office early, but it wasn’t early enough. By the time we hit the roads, traffic was at a virtual standstill. My normal 25 minute commute lasted almost 6 hours.

But the point at which we arrived home is the end of the story. What is more fascinating is what happened in between.

For the first hour it felt like an adventure. We were moving along at a snail’s pace but we were certain we would make it home for dinner time. I dreamt of what I would cook and was comforted by the fire I would start, the cup of tea I would make within minutes of our arrival.

In the second hour, we started to get a bit itchy, but were certain that we would make it home for the Caps game on TV. The cup of tea turned into a glass of wine. I would need it after all this stop and go.

In the third hour it was clear that we would miss the start of the game, and that dinner would in fact be a long ways away. All the dreaming of tea and wine had made me thirsty. Max had fallen asleep in the car and everything on the radio began to feel old. We had moved barely 10 feet. I began to think we would be there all night. It was then that irritation and restlessness started to set in. Suddenly I was flooded with visions of being home in front of a warm cozy fire, a smooth glass of wine in my hand, the Caps game on the big TV and I wanted to scream and lay on my horn as though that would make the seas part. As I sat uncomfortably, munching on a donut that Max had earlier scavenged from the crevices of the back seat, misery snuck into the passenger seat and taunted me. “You’re not home” it whined. “This is miserable.”

And then something happened that saved me. I learned that the power was out at home.

Transformers had blown and the entire neighborhood was out. The house was cold and dark. There would be no tea, no Caps game, no warm dinner. All my visions of what could have been went up in smoke and I suddenly saw my situation much more clearly.

I was warm. There was an interesting story on the radio. Max was dozing in and out, but relatively content snuggled up in a sleeping back in the back seat. When he woke up from his naps we chatted about things we rarely had time to talk about. While we didn’t have a full tank, we had plenty of gas. The woman in the car in front of me was chatty and kind and together we were moving the branches that fell in our path. The man in the car crawling along in the right hand lane was patient and funny and compassionate, checking in on Max. We could melt snow for water. The stale donuts in the back of the car had filled us up. There was in fact, nothing truly miserable about our situation.

Somewhere in between hour four and five, I had one of those epiphanies that make me feel so naive, like a too-smart schoolgirl, stung by the simplest of lessons she had missed. Rarely does my suffering arise from my life’s circumstances. It is not what my life is that causes me pain. More often than not, when I suffer, it it caused by my disappointment about what my life is not. After all these years, that teaching had never sunk in so profoundly, but rather it had floated about on the surface of my intellect. But suddenly, in the midst of that thick wet snow that promised to hold us hostage, a switch was flipped and I could no longer deny it.

As I turned off the traffic filled road and onto a snow choked side street, I breathed into the reality that we were Ok, more than OK in fact. And while I had no idea of what would happen next I was certain that everything seems to change, even if its slowly.

With the newness of my understanding settling, I felt a bit sheepish and even a bit childish in my complete lack of understanding. All these years, even as I had talked the talk about non-attachment, I find I wound the tendrils of my happiness firmly around visions of some false future and then whine when its somehow different.

Its a habit, a very hard one to break.

I am being gentle with myself now. It takes a lot of courage to admit that most of my pain and misery is truly just an illusion. I have nursed my suffering so for so many years. As I tended my own wounds I felt, I don’t know…. Complete. Worldly. Complex. Deep.

Thats not to say that my pain wasn’t real. Just that not all of it was necessary. And while there is grief that will be unavoidable, real sorrows and feelings of loss, I can save myself from a whole lot of manufactured hurt if I dare. I’d like to think there is infinite value in being able to see behind the veil of my own disappointment into the richness of my own magnificent life.

Evening metro-Dupont Circle

Every evening at the close of the day, I walk down the escalator to the platform, deep underground and wait for my train.

In the morning my head is already buried in the email on my phone, planning the conference call at 10 am, walking briskly to make time for a cup of coffee before tumbling into the day.

But every evening, I am slower. My magical electronic devices are buried deep in my bag and when I look up at the sweeping arches, it never fails to take my breath away. Shadows fall over the rails as the trains move by and I am transfixed by the holiness of this place. The rumble of the trains could be chanting, it swells to a crescendo, fades and then silence. Everyone waiting in rows on stone benches, heads bowed in something that could be prayer.

And then another swell of noise calls me and I rise to walk through a door, take my seat and lean my head against a window and turn my head to watch the blackness rush past taking with it the busy-ness and business of the day.

As the train exits the tunnel, I am awash in autumn’s golden light–the kind of light that turns the junk yards and tire shops into dramatic post-modern sets where lines and light become the main attraction, making game of shadow and I imagine construction workers as artists arranging it all just so for this moment. I pinch myself as I pass each scene–whispering to noone in particular “I LIVE here. The monuments and capitol buildings and houses that are white have nothing on these overgrown empty junk lots bathed in the warmth of a sun saying it final goodbyes–lingering to kiss everything once more before finally slipping away for the night.

This is my way home, I tell myself every night. This is how I come home.

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The day we landed in Mexico for the first time, we sat in the formal living room in the Mexico City house, cooled by one solitary fan and drank cold coca colas on sticky vinyl covered couches. My legs, made bare by my pretty little sundress stuck to the plastic and I looked longingly at the plush velvet beneath the clear barrier. “Protection”, Juan leaned over and whispered to me, reading my mind. “When something is this precious, we can’t afford to leave it unprotected.”

From my perch on my plastic velvet throne something magical caught my eye. In a living room that was rather sparse, a simple table, a lamp nothing more, the corner exploded in decoration. A waist high table was filled with fresh flowers, plastic flowers, candles burning despite the sun which bleached out the room, red beaded lamps, pictures of saints in gilded frames, ancient toys, figurines carved out of wood and stone. I got up and wandered over, mesmorized. Juan followed me and touched me on the shoulder. “It’s my tia’s altar”, he said. I had never seen anything so gaudy and so beautiful.

Before we left to travel to Oaxaca, Juan’s tia called us over to the altar for our blessing. She pulled out a fresh candle and lit it with ceremony, laid her tiny hands on our heads towering above her. She said prayers for a safe journey and with the saint’s protection firmly in place, she finally let us go out of her watchful sight. When something is this precious, we can’t afford to leave it unprotected.

I was swept up in the mystery of this magical country, I would soon call my second home. I loved, and became a student of the altars I saw built everywhere–in businesses, by roadside stands, in formal rooms and in the corner of shacks. A place for the Virgin to watch over and bless all who labored, loved and lingered there. Yet, the altars struck me as charmlng, antiquated, habits of old ladies with time on their hands, connections to a superstitious fate-based culture, a culture where angels and demons made choices instead of people and gods were arbitrary and mean in how they doled out joy and pain.

When I saw little altars constructed by friends of mine back home, I thought of them as glorious art pieces. A showcase of spirituality. I thought they were things constructed like window dressing to declare one’s love of God. I didn’t judge them, I was enthralled, in love, caught up in them. But I saw them as “extras” as “statements” as artful expression.

That was until the bottom fell out, after that night when Juan whispered to me that he was leaving me. That was until I was plunged head first into the realization that all my expecations and illusions about how my life would play out were dashed.

Night after sleepless night, I found myself whispering prayers in the dark to my tia’s Virgencita, the only woman who I thought might be able to hold my pain. Anxious hands, flitted about while my words poured forth, as though the very emotions, heart breaking needed to make themselves real and physical. One night I woke up and I stumbled into the living room. I suddenly remembered my sister in law, constructing her “Day of the Dead” altar for her young daughter, creating a space to grieve and honor her short life, to give thanks to her children who lived. Old toys and pieces of birthday cake and candy–a celebration of her life, an acknowledgment of her death, a pleading for the safety of her remaining three children.

And suddenly I understood what drove her to create her altar each year–what mad forces drove her forward through tears and turmoil as she laid the table cloth and arranged each item. I found the handthrown clay Virgen de Assumption I had purchased from a local potter in Oaxaca, moved her off her spot in the background of a shelf on a waist high table. I scrambled for a tea light. With a flashlight I went outside and cut wilting flowers from my garden, shoving them into a jelly glass. I found a picture of Juan and I happy and smiling and full of love and hope and bursting with joy at each other’s presence. With tears streaming down my face, I wrote a letter to sweet gods and goddess whoever would listen, imploring them to save my marriage, or at very least to protect my child, my heart, my sense that I would be OK. I thought about all of us flayed and bleeding. My heart whispered to me: When something is this precious, we can’t afford to leave it unprotected. And then I fell into a deep sleep. When I woke, I arose with a new peace. I had found a place to park my grief, to concentrate my dream, to make sacred my worst fears and deepest desires. And suddenly, I had found the strength to go on and to bear life as it unfolded, however it unfolded.

In the last six years, I have constructed countless altars. I take them down and refresh them frequently. When I am going through transition or transformation, their creation guides me. They are not art or window dressing or decoration. They are not a statement about my belief in god. They are a survival skill. An anchor. A thing I do so that I can keep going, despite the chaos and uncertainty and pain and messiness that I experience day after day living life on the edge. I currently have four in my house. Each one is place to hold my fears, my dreams, to learn to trust. I have one dedicated to my community, another to my tenuous and turmoil filled relationship with God and the Universe, my doubts about Her/His intentions, my questions and struggles. I have one dedicated to following my path–where I can park those fears that come up when I listen to my heart. And I have one, tucked away in my bedroom which hardly anyone ever sees, my most private space where my heart dwells. Each one is a place where I can acknowledge, grieve and celebrate. Where I can concentrate my prayers and honor the fears that try to protect me. Each night I light the candles. And then, I can say to my fears, the ones who try and protect me from life’s sorrow. “Stay here and rest, my loves. I must go out and bear life without you in the way.”

On Monday, a young teenage friend of mine set off for the journey of a lifetime. Headed to Rwanda to follow his path, I know his tender heart will see and experience both extraordinary beauty and pain. His mother, so strong, swallows her worry and speaks out loud over and over why this trip is good for him. I too, find myself thinking of him constantly, my prayers of protection, my pleas that he will find mentors to help him process what his tender heart experiences rising up and clouding my thoughts. Sunday night as I wandered through the grocery store, I passed the Latino section and saw the guardian angel candles–the very same ones with their paper wrappers and baroque images of an fair haired angel guiding a child that my tia places on hers whenever we set off from Mexico. The very same ones she lights when we leave her. I bought two, and placed the first on my community altar.

Monday morning, bright and early, I walked to my friend’s house. His parents just back from the airport were upbeat but strains of anxiety showed around their eyes. “This may be corny,” I said “but I brought a candle. To protect your boy. Its a space to hold the fear I know you have. I have one burning in my house for him too.” Furiously we searched for matches and lit it, said a little prayer and then went on with our day. Parking our grief and our worry so we could move on, but knowing full well that our hearts’ love had been concentrated and sent out like a magical golden net to protect him while he walked his new tightwire. When something is this precious we can’t afford to leave it unprotected.

For my dear friends E and K who reminded me this week why I build my altars.

Update: As I finished this sentence my friend just appeared with her phone in hand so I could read the email her son had sent, describing a land that had already captured his heart. I am in tears with joy. If you keep an altar would you light a little candle on yours for a boy, so brave, so wise and so connected to his heart that he left his comfortable life here at 16 to answer the call to love? May he be held up and protected and carried through the countryside by hundreds of prayerful hearts.

I lay awake at night, I couldn’t sleep. The combination of cafe con leche, a late Spanish dinner, the time difference. The clock said it was 3am but I couldn’t sleep so instead I closed my eyes. Its unclear to me whether I really drifted off, of if I did if it was complete, but I know that 4 hours later I looked at the clock and it said it was 7am and I got up.

The in-between time was fascinating, interesting, magical, a gift. So many nights I have stayed awake fighting my mind as it turned over the past, dissected every last conversation, action. So many nights I have stayed awake driven by my mind’s insistence that if we review what happened just one more time we might understand it in a new way. So many nights I have stayed awake as my mind tortured me with the “what if…what’s next?” musings about the future.

But this night my mind was tired out by speaking Spanish, sated by sangria y jamon serrano. Blissfully my mind just did not show up.

Instead I listened to the traffic, to the people in the hallway speaking French. I didn’t know what they were saying so they couldn’t take me with them as their argument or simply loud conversation moved down the hall. Instead I felt the coolness of the sheets, the satin-y-ness of the bedspread. I felt warm with the blankets, chilled without them.

So this is a Spanish bed. This is a Spanish room. This is a Spanish click clack elevator next to my room. These are Spanish pillows under my head. I am in Spain. In Spain now. And it is all glorious.

Max at caps
Max looking worried as the Caps lost their two goal lead and we headed into overtime…
Last Easter weekend Max and I went out for Mexican food at our favorite restaurant. Many of our friends were away for spring break. The beach. The mountains. They had all fled while we decided to stay. Money. Work. I have to admit, I was envious.

And so my mind was on travel. I started telling Max about some amazing trips friends of ours would take this year. Vacations that had been dreamed about for years. Ari was going to China. Jackie and family to Guatemala. I wanted to start dreaming with my boy, to make a plan to go someplace amazing. I wanted to be able to sit and look at books and smile wistfully and say, “Someday…”, scrimp and save. So I asked Max, my wise old 8 year old, the question that was burning in my heart. “If you could go anywhere in the world…ANYWHERE…If you could plan your dream vacation…Where would you go?”

Max sat and contemplated this very important question. He furrowed his brow. He was uncharacteristically quiet. He looked up and said with great seriousness:

“Detroit”.

This was not the answer I had hoped for. I wanted him to say “Italy” or “India” or maybe “Vietnam”. I wanted him to speak of far away places, of the exotic, of the new.

“What?” I said. “Detroit? Really?”

“Yes mom. My dream trip. Detroit.”

“Wow Max, that’s interesting.” I tried to sound excited about Detroit, about the wonders it might hold. I was failing terribly. “Why Detroit?”

Max looked crushed. How could I, his mother, the woman who gave him life, NOT understand this dream. His voice got strained. “Because MOM…Its my second hometown.”

Now I should say for the record that, to the best of my knowledge, no member of my family (or Juan’s) hails from Detroit. We have never been there. We have never even flown through the airport with Max. But I also need to say for the record, that while Max’s heart belongs to the Washington Capitals, his second favorite team in the NHL–his favorite team in the Western Conference, is the Detroit Redwings.

I must still have looked confused, because Max’s voice rose a bit and sounded strained. “Duh…mom…the REDWINGS….”

As it turns out, all Max really wants to do is go to the arena and watch his boys play. And then, come to think of it, he wouldn’t mind seeing the Blackhawks play in Chicago or the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden.

And suddenly, the dream trip that I had been salivating about started materializing before our very eyes. Not as one fantasy vacation but as a journey, a quest. To go home, see them play at home. Over and over again. Route for the home team. At home.

“Mom,” said Max. “Lets try and get to all 30 NHL arenas before I graduate from college.” I thought about it. Fourteen years. This could be doable. And even if we didn’t do all 30 arenas, we could try. It could be an excuse to see parts of America we would never have dared go, explore cities we would have long ignored. Its an excuse to find old friends in New York, Vancouver and Minneapolis/St. Paul. To uncover old stories and tell new ones as we drive. I started to think of all my old friends, long lost, recently found who live in great hockey cities. I think about the stories I would tell Max knowing we would see them soon. Stories I might never have thought to tell. All the ways this journey would lead me home to some hidden part of myself. It could be a quest. Not for the Holy Grail, but for hometowns. And for finding our loved ones, our heros, our enemies, perfect strangers at home.

Max declared that all the previous games we had been to at the Verizon Center did not count. No–it had to start in October. And it had to start at home. So last Monday, it did. Because in the end, its really all about returning there.


Her orders were quite clear.

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to sit in the sunshine and grow fat, like a cantaloupe–to swell with the sweetness of knowing you are loved, that the earth and the universe are conspiring to support you, and that it, whatever it is, doesn’t have to be hard.”

I took them in, these marching orders from my dear friend Kaiya and wondered how on earth one actually accomplishes the task of becoming a melon, sweet, full ripe in the late summer sun?

What I learned on my summer vacation: How to become a Cantaloupe
By Meg Casey

1. Drive a long long way and listen to brand new music. Music you have never heard before and saved, especially for the moment when the traffic is thickest or the road is most boring. Be thankful you have the time to really hear it for the first time with no distractions. Say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the one who thought to send you the music.
2. When the music is done, take time to listen to this podcast. And then listen to it again. And know that these words were meant for you.
3. Watch the sunset, completely still and almost completely silent with the one person in your life who you never doubted ever loved you.
4. Run along the beach and fly a kite. A pirate kite.
5. Make guacamole for the 3 beautiful people who act as though your guacamole is the food of the Gods. Let the love of your guac sink in and spread out to your toes. Understand that it is really love of you.
6. Sneak into the shed with the cousins for late night giggles.
7. Empty the dishwasher. Fold the laundry.
8. Do a talent show judged by the children. Dance you butt off to really old dance music.
9. Walk into town. Over and over again. Tell your stories while you walk. Just like you did when you were a kid.
10. Dive into the waves. Let them carry you to the shore, then stagger back against the surf to do it over and over and over again–even though the water is cold and salty and you got tossed under a lot. The ride is worth it every time.
11. Learn from the children how to boogie board.
12. Cuddle up in towels on the beach with your boy and read his book outloud.
13. Play board games with the kids. Play blackjack with the kids. Have a light saber fight with the kids.
14. Sit under the stars and listen to stories. Think about all that your loved ones had to go through to get to the place where they could pass on their wisdom, observations.
15. Wake up early to feel the sun on your face.
16. Sleep with the windows open.
17. Walk out into the bay and look for crabs.
18. Go grocery shopping. Make dinner. Make sandwiches for lunch. Make breakfast. Make coffee.
19. Watch for whales. Watch for seals.
20. Watch the sunset, watch the tide, watch the baby explore his world, watch the world wake up. Watch yourself wake up.

How far do you need to go, to touch the shores of the place you haven’t visited since childhood, a place at once magical and familiar? How far do you need to go to reach the spot where the waves crash over your head and you shriek in delight? How far do you need to go to walk along the beach, knowing full well that the tide will come back, even as it is drifting out now away?

We set out on a journey last week, one thousands miles round trip. We head out to Cape Cod for cousins week. I discovered many things along the way. For one, I discovered the fact that my car must really really love me. I know that it does because it kept going under impossible circumstances. When most cars would have given up, indignant at the mistreatment, mine kept moving forward. That kind of dedication can only be interpreted as love. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I also discovered that life really can be easy, even when challenges and obstacles present themselves. I discovered that I can be awake for large parts of the day and simply be and that it fills me, the way constant activity never quite does. I also noticed some habits I have, habits I thought I had once upon a time abandoned. I noticed how I eat for comfort. That sometimes I am fooled into thinking that a hole I feel in my heart might be in my stomach. But I noticed that if I sit with it, the hole just fills itself, the way sand fills in the voids on the beach.

But mostly, I sunk into the deliciousness of knowing that I have come to a place in my life, not yet sure I know it exactly or that I even know how to describe its differentness, but a place that feels more solid, more secure. Its waking up to the fact that I am not the person I was 4 years ago–or even 4 minutes ago. That I have healed in some ways, grown in others, and most excitedly that the adventure is just beginning. Its always beginning. With each new breath, a chance to begin again. And I am no longer afraid. Not of breakdowns, not of detours or delays. Not of the unknown.

Some might say that one thousand miles is a long way to go. Even with great music. One thousand miles is a long way to go only to arrive back home where you started, even if you are a bit more refreshed, a lot more yourself. One thousand miles is a long way to drive in a broke down car, summer beach traffic and heat but it was worth every minute. It always is.

So happy to have spent a week in the presence of my cousins, the ones who know me — the essence of me– and who love me the way no one else really ever could.

So happy to come home to myself, to my magical life right here.

Sometimes, its not the depth of the water, or even the speed of the current that is scary. Its the fact that we can’t see to the bottom, don’t know what lurks beneath, what lies just under the surface waiting for us.

Seeing the ones we count on to be “all knowing” slip and fall is scary. So scary that it can create a panic that is overwhelming, long after our hero has risen up laughing.

When the water is moving fast it is easy to enjoy the ride, easy to whoop and cry out and scream and recover. The parts when we are just drifting can be hardest, most fearful, most excruciating.

It always helps if someone is willing to float along side us and hold our hand. We can breathe easier and look toward the sky knowing that we are not alone.

It also always helps to keep the people who have traveled this river before in our sights. They are just a little ways ahead and while we cannot be sure the current, the wind or anything will be the same when we get to where they are, knowing that they have been there and are OK is comforting.

The hardest thing to do is NOT to give up, and to stay, floating, letting the river take us where it may. We can be faced with an overwhelming intense desire to stand up, throw our tube over our shoulder and walk to shore but actually, the walk to the shore is treacherous and slimy, the shore is full of brambles and branches and prickly things. Even though its scary, its far easier to float. The resistance is always harder.

At the end, there is tremendous reward for staying in our “discomfort zone” and not fleeing to the safer, smaller space. Not only do we arrive at the way-station, fine but often having grown an inch taller, more confident and full of joy. We can say that we have lived and that is always better than wishing we did.

For Max, the bravest boy I ever knew, who teaches me over and over again. I am so proud of you big boy for feeling the fear and riding the river any way. I can’t wait to go down it with you again.

I am a word girl. While I love visual art, can get lost in the movement of dance and revel in music, when it comes to making meaning of the world I find myself here. At a keyboard. Or with my nose buried in someone else’s poetry. My friend Jeff laughs at me. Whenever he is playing a new song he has written, I listen once or maybe twice and then demand to see his notes with the lyrics. Moved as I may be by the music, I need to take in the poetry of his words. I dive in there to open up more space so that the music can better seep in.

For the last few weeks, I have been exploring quiet places. Covering ground that seem ordinary and extraordinary all in one. It is impossible to articulate the wild ride I have been on. If they are paying attention, I think, many of my friends are confused. I am fine, life is good, and yet, I am so quick to well up, the shut down or to just grow quiet. Normally flowing over with affection, I am not so quick to rise and hug. I am ebbing a bit now. But its not a contraction. More like a centering, a stillness, a 40 day rest and coming home and being yin. I am moved, but not sad. I am grieving but am not lost. I know deep in my heart that everything is fine and have been trying to sink into the easiness of the world.

There is no way to explain what happens when you are growing while it is happening. Its a story that can only be told with a glance in the rear view mirror further up the road. Whenever I try and explain what shifts are happening in my heart right now, I find myself wordless. I stumble thinking that it seems both so big and so small all at once and that if I even tried I would sound so crazy it would defile this growth spurt. And in these moments I love that I can stop being a word girl, even if it makes me a bit wobbly.

This song is grounding me these days. While I have long loved it, I cannot tell you what the words are. Every time I hear it, I feel an expansion in my chest and feel a road roll out before me. Blue winter light filters in through snow dusted cedars and pine, the sun sinks low. I roll down my window and breathe in the crispness. The reaction is purely physical now matter how many times I hear it. Its a tingling expansion that moves from my chest out to my limbs. It is melancholy and joyful all at once. It is hopeful and content. It is not just grounding me. It raises me up above the trees, the weeds of words in my mind.