Home. What does that word mean, when arriving back to the familiar makes me feel like a stranger to myself? All the stresses come rushing back in, the social obligations, the anxiety about this program pressing close, messages on the phone, on the computer, worrying about my children and my relationships with them.

I want to turn around and run away. Yes, that is the feeling, so strong, escape. Go back to those mountains, a life that feels simpler somehow, where there is space for me.

I suppose I may need to stop living my life out of obligation to others. It is so hard for me to disappoint someone. I imagine that comes from fear somewhere in me, fear that disappointment will lead to rejection, fear of judgment. Perhaps it is time for me to realize that I can no longer live my life trying to please everybody except for myself.

Of course, the truth is that I want it all. I want relationships that are meaningful AND time and space for my own desires. The truth is that it is my own judgment that I need to bear…. Not living up to some ideal of motherhood, or personhood, that I impose upon myself.  The truth is I don’t really want to sacrifice in order to make the space in my life that I long for. There’s not space for it all and something MUST go.

The thing that I notice, when I am away from all of this, is that there is this part of me that starts to come out and dream a little. Starts to imagine what possibilities for her life there might be, starts to explore regions of myself that lie beyond the reaches of the time and space in which I ordinarily have to explore.

It’s as if I begin exploring a trail, but I can only get so far because something keeps calling me back or I run out of time. I never make it around that bend to discover what beauties or mysteries lie there, never reach the quiet place.

I long to explore those regions for weeks, months, years, get to know them intimately, settle into their quiet strength and beauty. I want to camp out there, cook my food there, paint what I see there.

I need quiet.

My husband and I were discussing the idea of sacrifice, how it relates to realizing a gift. We were recalling the article that spoke of the 3 things necessary to bring forth a gift – a wound, regular practice, and sacrifice. That is, sacrifice of all the other loves that tug upon your heart. The wound part confused me a bit whenever I pondered a move to the mountains. Of course, it’s easy to see now, the relationship between the wound of no boundaries and the desire to create a physical one, but there is also the love affair I have with the mountains. I think that love affair/longing has something to do with the wounding of my wildness, the same way in which gardening with native plants has had to do with that wounding of my wildness. In the garden, it was expressed in a desire to give back to the earth its natural ways, to let it grow and blossom in the way that is natural for it to grow and blossom. It was a healing of the earth, and a healing of myself, to say ‘no more’. No more stripping and cutting you back to one way of looking, no more squaring you off, feeding you herbicide in order to restrict your growth. No more domestication.

And of course, that could only go so far, I suppose, for it was such a small sliver that was allowed to trust its nature, when I am longing for the whole. The whole of me, not a sliver every Tuesday, or once a month, or twice a year.  I want to be able to step out of my door daily into miles of native woodland, and to step into those same expansive places in myself.

Dear great-granddaughter,

As I write this, I live in a house in the middle of a subdivision, but I am not at home here. Here I feel like huge parts of me are missing. I have tried to make the best of it, planted every square foot of lawn with trees and shrubs and flowers from the woods, where I long to be. I have tried to give this ¼ acre plot of earth back to itself, to give it permission to be a little wilder, a little creative, a little more true to its own nature.

Here, at the turn of the 21st century, lawns are manicured, squared off, clipped short, and limited to grass, domesticated. It’s getting harder and harder to live inside those boxes…..

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