Saturday, April 20, 2013
It had been nearly two years, but when I stepped off the plane it felt like no time had passed. Instantly I felt like that girl again; the one who believes anything is possible and who can’t ever sleep at night because the stars are out and she knows if she keeps trying she just might catch one. And Juneau was the same in that way where even the few changes that have been made were instantly noticed like a new scar on the back of my hand. This place is as close to me as skin. I immediately stowed my bags at my hotel and took to the hills answering, after all this time, their constant if now faint, call. Only this time the snow fell and my feet made tracks that will eventually disappear. The bright white served not to cover but to highlight the details my mind has been so careful to calculate and preserve. Jagged corners of steep mountains and deep crevasses of avalanche chutes. The feel of rocks in my hand and soft purple hues of mountain air. I sensed the chill of the winds from the ice field and gazed with wonder at the Eagles who embraced it with their wings outstretched, soaring on what they too have learned to trust. I ran with my arms outstretched and lungs full of the sweetest air remembered. The fog of my breath went out before me and welcomed me home.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
People often tell me they are jealous of my adventurous life. I appreciate their sentiments. It used to frustrate me to hear them say how they wished they could go on a long cross country road trip and then back pack in Europe for a couple weeks. “you can do it too” I would think. You see there is nothing about me that makes me especially more “adventurous” or “lucky” than anyone else. I have just made different choices. What is it that holds you back from taking that wild step? What ever is holding you back is probably something I have chosen to give up in order to live my life. Orderliness and stability have long been gone from my vocabulary but often found on my wish list. A loving spouse and domestic partner, children, a home community, all things that I have yet to throw myself into, such pursuits have only proven to hold me back from my goals. And what exactly are my goals? Why is it worth it for me to give up such goals? These are the questions I am faced at the turn of every new season, every new venture, and every new move. In the years I have spent asking and answering these questions I have learned a great deal about myself and found a possible general answer that does in fact differentiate me from the average jealous city dweller and career chaser. And just as the questions are many and complex so was and is the path to the answers. You see there came a point in my life, long ago, when I vowed not to settle for ordinary. I would never do something just because it was “the way things are done”. I vowed to choose. I have taken this vow very seriously and it has led me through years of joy laced with turmoil and above all personal growth. I allow myself to ask the big questions and seek out honest and true answers that I can confidently believe. Honesty with myself is the most important. I have made some beautiful discoveries and allowed myself the joy of simple pleasures. In it all I have struggled with becoming the person I would be if I believed in myself and to run from the person I would be if I fit the mold set out for me. This journey has led me to college in Oklahoma, work in Alaska, trips across the country and to Europe. I have had the chance to take photographs, write prose, read books, paint memories, brush elbows with strangers, cry with friends, laugh alone, run half marathons, drive buses, hike mountains, swim in the ocean, kiss on a dare, dare to dream, and turn dreams into reality. I have uncovered pieces of myself in over 15 countries and 30 states. I have friends scattered all over the world. It is only now that clinging to my family and allowing things to tie me down have begun to look less scary. It is only now that I have begun to see that love and connections and others in general can never actually “tie me down”. It is only now I have begun to feel that I have uncovered my greatest accomplishment. It is only now that I feel like I have found the greatest missing piece of myself. It is only now I have begun to feel that I am unleashing my inner voice of authority. It is only now that I have begun to feel as though I have claimed my life as my own to live and so have been able to really give my life to others in the true sense of relationship, in the sole definition of love, and in a beauty that lasts every day. It is only now that I have begun to feel the complete freedom to choose to be me.