Next week it will be five years since I lay on the floor of the frozen earth, teeth chattering, eyes wide, ears alert as I listened to icy winds whistle through the empty branches overhead. In the darkness my body trembled, partially because of April’s arctic air expanding and collapsing the flimsy walls of an old nylon tent, partially because I was alone in an empty campground after midnight.
My journey began as a quest for answers to questions created by time, created when the role previously dominating my life disappeared. Now what? What is my purpose? My value? How do I make a difference? How do I balance my responsibility to husband, aging parents, siblings with disabilities, friends, a cherished lake in need of an advocate? What am I meant to do with my time?
What am I meant to do?
I survived that first night. And the many nights that would follow. My days were spent climbing steep forested dunes, wandering through wetlands and across rolling hills of sand peppered with dune grass, hiking miles of flat, sandy beaches. I explored paths in state and national park stretching from the Indiana Dunes to Sleeping Bear, determined to find answers. On and on I marched, even as the sand pushed mightily against my worn leather boots. I pressed on until I could no longer run away from . . . or to anything . . . until I just stopped.
And looked around. And noticed the Nodding Trillium. Oh, and the Clintonia, the Canada Anemone, the Wild Rose, the Wood Betony, the Pitcher’s Thistle. And yes, even the Queen Anne’s Lace.
Especially the Queen Anne’s Lace.
And I realized there is only one question worth asking. How do I reflect the thumbprint of light placed on my soul at birth?
Seeking that answer changed everything.
To learn more about the messages of the wildflowers, read my book, Tiny Treasures, available on this website or from stores listed under Products or join me at Shaker Messenger in Holland and Horizon Books in Traverse City. See Upcoming Events for details.
3/27/2013 06:55:27 am
Mary, What a powerful question! I wonder how you would answer that question today, five years later? It seems that there is an evolving answer - day to day, minute to minute. The conscious awareness of how you choose to be is evident in your writing, and really in how you show up in life - wide awake, alert and open to receiving the gifts you are given. Thank God you took that first, brave step five years ago.
Mary Ellen Miller
3/28/2013 04:48:52 am
Your beautiful blog entry brings to mind the speaker in Mary Oliver's "I Go Down to the Shore": "what shall -- what should I do?" I so look forward to your future posts as you explore the possibilities implicit in this profound question. Thanks for bringing us all along on the journey.
4/26/2014 05:29:33 pm
Having fun playing catchup on all your blogs Mary. I was taken today by the mention of your worn leather boots...I bet they have stories to tell.
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