Low elevation, 1,050 feet above sea level
It was 1975, the summer I learned to ride a bike. It was simple, easy. Jump on, here’s the road you have to take to get to the fun. Sweet, summer wind-blown bicycle hair, no destination in mind. Innocence and freedom. No map needed! Navigating the world was effortless when you are five years old.
Intellectual mapping became my way to get around. Through the eyes of others, I could view the world. My father, my hero, had visited most of the major map coordinates on the globe, traveling for his work, before I finished college. It seemed like a glamorous life. He worked so hard for us. London, Paris, Amsterdam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Phoenix, Seattle, to name just a few. While he was gone, my mom kept us safe and close to home.
Most times, my destination was clear. Follow these directions and you will reach your destination. Be a good girl, do everything right, follow the rules. Follow directions. Don’t get lost, no matter what you do! Ingrained in me, “don’t get lost.” Their good advice, their wisdom, played on and on, programmed to believe that if I got lost, bad things would happen. I followed the rules. Over time, inevitably, I got lost, frazzled and had to pull over. I gathered my senses, my directions, picked up a map, got back up and kept moving. Time after time, I got lost. But it never stopped me. Out of the hundreds of times I got lost, I made it to my destination, every time. There were scenic routes that surprised me. There were detours, equalling dark times, that scared me. Some detours made no sense at all. Sometimes I would stumble upon a sign that spoke to me, a clue about something I needed to know, for my future self. All those signs are now coming together. All of the detours, I am now grateful for.
There were places I visited that surprisingly would become part of my grand strategy. There were people I met that passed by me without a second thought. There were people who have stuck by me since that summer of ’75.
Fast forward, 40 years….
There are those places that keep me coming back. There are those people who keep me going. My mom. My dad. They are still here. I am grateful. New faces appeared as I rode along oblivious to what was coming. Along a route named “M”, a road I thought was completed, a journey I thought was planned and done, was really just beginning on a date that seems inconsequential now. A date somewhere, written on a forgotten calendar.
During all the times I thought I was lost, those were just character building roads, strengthening moments, integrity building signs. Those scenic routes, detours and dark places were landmarks, pinpointing pivotal points in my uneven journey to today.
The summer of 1975 was a free-spirited summer. Now, I want to chase the endless, innocent summers to the pinnacle of my life. At my half-way point, my latitude and longitude coordinates are adjusting.
It’s time to put down the security of the map and follow where my heart leads me. I’m pretty sure it’s a beautiful, magical place, where I belong.
High elevation 14, 491 above sea level
Love and Light, M
(Photo of the author, summer of 1975)
Dedication and Resilience, his old friends, sits with him as he pulls out his rod and reel, one more morning of fishing for answers.
Dedication, it is with him, as he looks around his lake of creation, seeing the beauty of his life reflecting back at him.
Resilience, his trusted companion, it enables him to come back, re-born, each day, with each struggle and fight, he is here.
In his tackle box are the tools he keeps close. Bait, lures and line. Hooks, pliers and scrimpers. Knives and nets. He has everything he needs to be a master fisher. Yet, these fish still elude him, even as they circle around the bait.
Glassy waves at his feet. Alone in his thoughts and words, his rod and reel, his true friends. A lifetime of coming here, he waits for the big one, the definitive answer. It’s in this tiny, Prussian blue lake. He feels it. He knows it. Goldenrod has taken over the turquoise waters edge. A freshly painted canvas arriving each morning with a dusting of dew resting on the grassy meadow nearby.
A reflection in the lake shows his face, worn by time, commitments and duties. His escape to the lake makes it all worthwhile. His respite from the inevitable tasks he faces each day.
His grace, every morning, she is here. An angelic water being, peaking up through the reeds lining the shore. She emerges her head, just above the cusp of the horizon. Sometimes, she comes close to him, glowing eyes, knowing eyes. She is the big one he is waiting to catch. Elusive in her movements, she teases him with each approach.
He has been loyal to the lake, all these years. She was his one true love, one he could count on as time slipped through his fragile fingers. He has been loyal to her. Seeing each other from a distance, a commitment only communicated through their vibrant energies surrounding a mirror into each other’s souls.
His angel, his lake of memories, makes his duties tolerable, even understandable. His escape to her makes his life relevant. His rod and reel, his friends, Dedication and Resilience, his trusted companions. His charmed life displayed across the mirage of the liquid cradle, holding his beloved angel. His treasured angel of the cold, desperate waters.
On the cusp of autumn, a random day to him, she finally emerges, after waiting for the sun to peak over the ridge. “In your hands, you hold a key. Your answers,” she says to him. “The key to your tackle box.” He turns and looks at his trusted, worn box with baits, lures and line. At the bottom, in a hidden part of the box, is a locked compartment. The key fits perfectly. Afraid to turn it and open, he gazes into her golden eyes once more. “Now that you have what you have been searching for, I will be gone forever. This is what you have been asking for, the big one….. and now it is yours.” In exchange, you will never see me again.”
He turned his eyes from hers. Contemplating the enormity of the decision, he held the key in his weathered hands. Was it her, meeting him on the water’s edge that he had found, but not seen, all of these years? Was it the constant search for the big fish, the big answer to all of the questions of his life that he yearned for? If he turned the key and opened the secret compartment of the tackle box, and discovered what he thought he wanted, would he regret never seeing his angel again?
The light of the mid-day sun was now high over aspen-lined ridge. She emerged completely from the water. Massive Scheele’s green, moss-covered wings dragged behind her small frame. Wings eroded by time and the brutal winters under the frozen water. Sitting next to him on a boulder, they held hands for the first time since he began coming to the lake. Her presence comforted him. It always had. Maybe that was the reason he fished in that lake for so many years? To feel the comfort of his angel? She knew his deepest thoughts and emotions. Here, in Mother Nature’s cathedral, he was able to express his truth. He was encouraged to feel everything in her presence; happiness and joy, peace and serenity, pain and sorrow, grief and despondence. A lake holding his life; an angel holding his soul.
He stood, glancing over his shoulder at the miraculous being next to him. Doubt filled his mind. Does he want the answers he has been seeking for years? How much does he need this angel next to him?
“Wake up, wake up, you have work to do. Wake up.”
Calling softly. Each day, gentle reminders of a calling I had forgotten. Each day, sometimes more than once, signs from beyond this place. Hearts in the sky, in the trees and leaves, meaningful signs of a being greater than me. Wrapped in a shaw of stars, the sun and moon. I rose slowly, taking years to open my eyes. Hollow spaces in my heart began to fill. With loving energy flooding into and out of me, I woke up. Reminding me of my inner light, my healing words and hands. Awakened to a new day. Awakened to my calling.
“Wake up, my love, wake up. Your work is not done.”
Rise, awaken, be love. Take my shaw covered in stars, the sun and moon. Wrap yourself in it’s loving warmth.
I turn to you. I ask, “wake up, my love. You have work to do. Wake up.”
Love and Light, M
Brave morning, launch into a fresh day
Survival kicks in, be attentive to it
Savor the crisp air, revel in the cardinal-red leaves
Pay attention, leaves are changing once again
We never notice, until it is too late
Recovery becomes second nature
On the edges, red hues dangle
Holding on for dear life, like us
Suddenly, red falls to an eternal home
She welcomes her children, once again
Awareness belongs to us as we witness another fall
Check into the cardinal-red edges of the leaves
Notice as they dance and change
Collectively, we all change, you…. me
Overnight, it seems, cardinal-red leaves cover the earth again
Overnight, it seems, we change
Not a transition of green to orange to red, gradually
A flourishing transition from silence to strength to resilience
Breaking away, changing to the cardinal-red, dropping to the earth
Taking courage to let go
Yet holding onto faith, allowing change
A deeper understanding
Entering another fall season, grateful
Let’s mirror the trees. Let’s be graceful with our passage into fall.
I wonder, do the trees notice their leaves changing? One day, morning comes and their leaves manifest into a marvelous cardinal-red. We step outside and admire their glory. They allow their constant spring companions to let go, falling to their mother. They don’t try to hold on. They let go gracefully. Ritually, they let go, and one day, the cardinal-red leaves are gone. Solid, forgiving trees, they stand alone. They understand, they accept, they adapt. Their abscission complete. Ready for the bitter winter, their warmth radiates from the inside.
They embrace their inner light.
I wonder, do we let go gracefully? Do we resist the evolution into another season, another year coming to a close?
We change every minute, every day, without even recognizing it. Then one day, we are ready to let the cardinal-red leaves attached to us go. Small changes within ourselves allow us to understand, accept, adapt. Let’s not mourn the loss, but embrace it. Our season with the cardinal-red leaves taught us valuable lessons. Embracing our inner light will keep us warm.