We walked along the edge of the lake with the winter sun glistening on the shores. The snow was fresh and powdery from the eight inch snowstorm the day before so all looked crisp and fresh. The air had that freshness to it as well and since my daughter and I had bundled up with down jackets, hats and mittens we could appreciate the cleansing breathes.
“Look mom!” We had been walking along the shore for about 10 minutes when I stopped short to focus where her fingers were pointing. I turned and noticed a brown patch on top of the fresh snow. I had to look long and hard before realizing that I was staring at a leg bone and hoof of a deer. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My daughter wanted to run back home for fear the predator might jump out after us, after all whatever took down a large deer could certainly take us down. I, on the other hand, wanted to investigate further. We decided to turn back home as it was starting to get dark. Not two steps later I heard my daughter Sarah screaming again. I looked up to see fur scattered around the snowy ground leading my eyes up to the gruesome sight of the skeletal remains of the deer’s rib cage. I was starting to think Sarah’s plan to hasten home was wise but I was intrigued by this sighting.
I wanted to be a snow detective looking for clues as to who and how the carcass got here. There was no sign of struggle, no bloody trail, just bones on top of the fresh fallen snow. My mind was whirring with possibilities, none of which made sense. I thought instead of the oddity of the stark bones laying against the white pure snow, the circle of life displayed at our feet as the daylight began to fade away.
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It was a busy day in downtown Asheville, North Carolina and I only had a few minutes to shop and enjoy the sights and sounds of a new city. I was on a quick weekend trip spending precious time with my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, so shopping was last on the list of the many things we wanted to do to re-connect in three short days. But there we were in a busy downtown area with a few minutes to shop. As I crossed the busy street towards what I spied to be a cute shop with little girly dresses in the window, I recalled my late-husband often-quoted phrase: “There’s no shopping in vacation!” whining just like Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. Despite his words singing in my head, I continued on with a smile and an urgency to reach the store. I swung open the door and that’s when I saw him. He was sitting on a stool across the way with a typewriter balanced on a box. The side of the box bore a sign that read Poems for Sale. I stopped in my tracks still holding open the door. What did that mean poems for sale? I desperately wanted to take a moment and explore further but I was soon interrupted with the gently tugging on my hand by my granddaughter reminding me of the store filled with frilly delights that beckoned before us. I ventured in, hesitant to let go of the image of the man selling poems on the street.
I often think of that man selling poems and wonder…
What was the price of his poem?
Can you put a price on poetry?
How were poems generated? Was the buyer involved in the topic generation?
What was the background of the poet on the street corner?
Did he ever struggle or have writer’s block?
Was this a full time job or a fun little hobby?
So many questions that will have to wait until my next visit to Asheville. I hope he is still there typing away.
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It’s that time of year when everyone talks about their resolutions for the new year. For me, it’s time to pick my one little word that will guide my thinking and doing for the year. This will be the third year that I have chosen a “little word.” Last year my word was Pause and in 2017 I focused on Joy.
In previous years I let my word percolate for a few weeks mostly by thinking about what was happening in my life at that time and hoping the word would guide me in the days and months ahead. This year however I stumbled across an online site offering daily emails to walk me through a reflective process to let a word choose me. I registered for the free emails and began my journey.
One of the first activities was to reflect on experiences of last year in hopes that a word or phrase might rise up. It was then that my mind returned to my mission trip to Haiti. I noted the strong sense of purpose I felt on that trip, something I had not felt since becoming a widow five years earlier. Purpose. It had a nice ring to it.
My daily email activities continued with suggested activities such as taking a contemplative walk, consulting with a friend, and paying attention to my dreams, all in hopes that my word would speak to me through this process. It was only after I had a vivid dream of driving around bumping into things as if I had no control of the car that I confirmed that my word, purpose, had indeed chosen me.
My word brings out two questions that will be guiding me throughout 2019:
What is my life purpose? This question will be important as I move towards my 60th birthday in February and consider plans for what my retirement might look like in a few short years.
What is the purpose for doing this? I tend to make decisions based on what I’ve done in the past without considering the underlying reason. My hope is that this question will guide me to make decisions that keep my priorities in place and not simply doing things because it’s what I have done in the past.
My new word has found me and I am excited for this word to guide 2019.
Happy New Year!
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