free indeed

It is feelings like this that I most want to hold on to but am least able to maintain. Feelings like this are the most fleeting.

It’s a feeling born of the warm, persistent press of the sunlight on my skin despite the chill in the air; the crunching snow underfoot as the sun stakes out its place in the sky; the lilting song of birds and the strong scent of evergreen pouring from a towering fir tree. Such a giant of a treeā€”it’s a wonder that it has escaped my attention until now. I stop and gaze up and can’t even see the top.

And suddenly, or not-so-suddenly, I’m filled with peace and clarity. I feel realistically optimistic about the future. (Realistically optimistic? It’s amazing that such a feeling exists.) I can clearly see a path laid out in front of me. And what’s more, I don’t feel afraid to start walking down it.

The thing is, I’ve had these fantastically exultant moments before… and so I know that they pass. They pass, and I’m left with life-as-usual once again, trudging through the problems of the day (most of which are problems of my own making). My view of the road ahead becomes obscured again with my doubts, my second-guesses, my mistakes.

But I’m not pointing this out to be a pessimist. Not this time, anyway. I’m pointing this out because this time, I think I understand this feeling better.

Thank goodness for these moments of clarity, these times when the world feels so full of lighted windows and open doors. These moments are exactly the kick in the pants that I need to continue on even when the world turns dark again. The feeling may be gone, but the memory that I had it remains. There’s a “white ring of mineral ash left after the water has boiled away,”* which serves as a real reminder that hope can be constant even while my feelings vacillate between contentment and desperation.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,
But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.
-Kahlil Gibran

So for now, I get it. I recognize it may not be as easy for me to grasp next week, or maybe even tomorrow. But for now, I get it, and I’m holding on.

*another quote from Louise Erdrich’s Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Category: books, hopes, quotes, the great outdoors, what's inside One comment »

One Response to “free indeed”

  1. Coralee

    You’re such a great writer! :) I love that quote!


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