I’m at the stage of life when most people are retiring. That’s not an option for me. I’m back at the start, doing a few rather soul-shocking things. I learned to swim at fifty. I hiked Angels Landing at 56. Instead of checking things off my bucket list, I keep adding dreams to it. Life is wonderful when you’ve got something to hope for.
There are bleak moments, but mostly I’m simply excited for each new day and opportunity. Right now, I’m up to something that was always at the back of my mind. I’d written it off as impossible, but now I’m doing it. We’ll celebrate together when it’s complete. In the meantime, I’m celebrating every second of the journey.
Thank you LIFE, for letting me have one more day. One more chance to get things right.
I hope that whatever you’re up to, you succeed to your own satisfaction. I hope that you find joy in the little steps and don’t stop trying when you trip. We all fall. We all fail. A two-year-old taught me that you can’t stand unless you fall down. So here’s to falling and here’s to standing, and whatever your “it” is, you’ve got my applause just for trying. By default, that makes you a winner.
The other day Eli and I came across a wolfdog. My son’s spirit animal is a wolf, and he was mighty stoked to see one in the middle of a city street. But that’s not where wolves belong, so we knew something was amiss. We wheeled around and went to make sure it was okay, and that any little humans around it were safe too. Poor thing was terrified. We did our best to approach it cautiously. I’m usually the animal whisperer, but this time the creature only wanted Eli. We sat down and let it come to Eli. The experience was surreal to say the least.
Then something spooked it, and off it went and so did we. We followed it to a house where another wolfdog was penned in the backyard. SAD. But true. Eventually the owners came out and reclaimed their missing canine.
All this made me wonder about wildness. Like animals, I think we humans are born to be wild. But society, religion, tradition, and necessity do their best to tamper us and tame us. I get that. We need civilization, but don’t you ever feel that there’s a part of you that aches to be free? To run barefooted through wildflowers, exploring the next horizon and the next, and not be fearful that you’ll miss your call to fetch at a slave master’s bid? I, for one, want to go places I’ve never been. I want to make friends with strangers. I want to wander without a map. I want my pain to make me more deeply appreciate the pleasures of life. No more dull existence. No more living in shame, fear, and guilt. Those are chains and coffins for the living. So, if you need me, I’ll be digging my way out from behind the fences of life. Oh, I’ll do the work I need to do, fulfill my obligations, and even conform to the rules that make sense, but when my responsibilities are met…you’ll find me in the mountains or along a shoreline. I’ll be breathing deep and laughing loud. Who knows? I might be dancing with wolves…if they’ll have me.
Here’s to the wild spirit that lives within you! On that happy thought, I’ll sign off with Tolstoy’s sentiments: “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for love.”
There are all kinds of ways to love. There are all kinds of people to love. I guess if I’m decent at anything in life, it’s being open to love and all its designs, and being fortunate to love some of the most stellar spirits imaginable. That’s why I can’t wait to share what this photo means to me. It means my hope for the future. Through she’s not my flesh and blood, she’s wriggled her way into the core of my soul. I was there, with my camera, when newborn Sophia was barely able to cry. I got to watch her grow up, from a shy, observant little girl into a curious, confident woman of 20. The time between wasn’t all sunshine and sugar. She’s one of those rare gems, loved by a village, with a mother who raised her to be who she was meant to me, celebrated her uniqueness, honored her fanatical determination and courage. Sophia is wise and opinionated, she’s hysterically witty. And she’s beautiful beyond words, outwardly, yes, but inwardly, HELL, YES. If you’re ever fortunate enough to spend hours listening to her thoughts about life, you’ll find your spirit and mind stretched in directions you didn’t realize were possible. She’s fiercely loyal to those she loves. And I’m indescribably fortunate that she sees something in me worth investing her heart. Oh, and her jokes make me laugh for days after we’ve parted. Sophia and her generation have the world in the palms of their hands. Think of a snow globe. I expect her to shake us for all we’re worth, toss us high, and catch us before we shatter. And when Sophia’s magic settles, I believe the world will be more bold, brilliant, and we’ll all be more open to the power that created the world in the first place…love in all its transformative splendor.