Friday, January 9, 2009

What if there is a place we belong?

I met a woman at a writing workshop in Taos, NM last year. Long, grey hair, plaited in two braids, rested on the shawl draped on her shoulders. A muslin caftan hung to her hips over the burnt orange Indian cotton skirt that fell to her ankles. Pale, unpainted toes wrapped in brown leather thong sandals. In the 70’s, we used to call them Jesus-sandals. She wore no makeup.

“Are you from here?” I asked.

“No, Chicago.”

I paused, surprised and confused at the mixed messages. “You don’t look like you’re from Chicago.”

She looked at me oddly and cocked her head. “Funny you should say that…I don’t feel like I’m from Chicago.” We spoke for several more minutes, then parted company.

“I hope you find the place where you do belong,” I said. She smiled and laid a hand on her chest, “In the meantime, I carry it here with me.”

I believe I have found where my heart belongs: This little corner of New Brunswick with its gentle rolling hills, mixed forest, soft ponds, and sweeping marshlands juxtaposed against the mighty rhythmic tides of the Bay of Fundy. What more could I ask?

Right now, my home is cloistered…surrounded by trees…and I find great serenity walking amongst them, under the protection of their canopy, my eyes searching, searching; my ears listening, listening; my fingers reaching out to touch.

I also find myself in a season of introspection…sometimes almost in a dreamlike state. Once, I sought thought; now, I often stand still and let thought come to me…

This year will be a very different one for me. I have begun writing a book about a rather large life…a woman who finally found the place she belonged, then devoted her life to sharing the joys and gifts that place brought her. I have been gathering material for this book for several years…now is the time to settle in and let her story emerge on the page.

It's very intimidating - and humbling - to write about the life of another. But oh, so enlightening. In discovering her, I also discover myself. In discovering her world, I am discovering my own.


One Woman's Journey said...

Can't wait to read your book.
At 70 and moving back to my homeplace at the edge of the woods. It is a gift of peace to know where you belong. Thanks for your comment to One Woman.

Diane said...

You're so right about that: in writing about her you learn more about yourself. I find that too. Since I've been able to finally think about my mother without crying I'm learning even more about myself by writing down my thoughts and times with her. I can see how it transfers to anyone a person writes about. May you find great joy and surprises as you journey through the writing of this book!

Life's Sweet Ordinary

Jennifer Dee said...

What a lovely post you have written. Reading your post this morning and looking at those beautiful pictures I feel an inner peace. I can't wait to read that book of yours; I only wish I could do the same.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Such observation! and words.. You are doing exactly what you were meant to.. it's obvious...

all the best to you

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

I usually lurk on your blog but felt compelled to address this post. Your story of the lady from Chicago touched my soul, truly. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your book - you're a gifted writer.

Deborah Carr said...

GHT...are you also out of place?