Family is good, but family can take us only so far. That is my reality. But the power of family should not be underestimated. Family are the keepers of my true self. They provide reminders of who I am, who I have been in all of my existence. My roots. They provide reality checks and keep me on course, even if I tend to rebel against their suggestions. But that is how I have always been. Whenever I am lost in life, I go back to my childhood days, for that is when we are the purest and boldest. Doing this also keeps me from getting swept up by the role defined by the world, and keeps my unique contribution available to all who will accept. The role of family is one that no one can ever replace, yet we also need people in our lives to help us soar beyond. There is a sense of guilt, though, that develops as I realize that I must move beyond.
Such serious and pensive thinking takes me into a dark and sad place within. I do not like to dwell there. Only reflect when needed. When I journey too far into that place, I gently bring myself to my world. I looked out the window and saw a mountain covered in fresh snow. “I’ve never been to the mountain when there’s snow. I want to go see.”
The forest that I knew so well was completely foreign to me. The blanket of white snow removed any references that would point me along the way. I carefully moved in a general direction, searching for my favorite stand of aspens. A thin, hard layer of ice on top of the snow crunched under my feet, and I was completely focused on precisely choosing my steps so as not to lose my bearings. Suddenly, without notice, the layer of ice gave way, and I found myself hip-deep in soft snow. I sank just far enough to where I could sit down on the top layer. “Sit. Relax. The show is about to begin,” nature announced to me. I thought to myself, “Hmmm…I want to play, but I’m kinda stuck.” I was there to play. I needed to play.
I decided to make the best of it. My eyes followed a path of long shadows on the snow. I studied the color and shape of the aspens that I so dearly love. A moment later, a bright light appeared, and I had to turn away. When I looked back, the light was gone, and all I saw was the rays of the sun that was hiding behind the trees. Seconds later the full brightness returned, and I looked away yet again. “You little flirt,” I thought to myself. In the solace of a sleeping winter forest, the sun and I engaged in a playful game of flirting. I bobbed back-and-forth on my snow ledge, and giggled with delight. I was in my element, and nature was my playmate.
As I drove back down the mountain later that morning, I reflected on the time I spent in my wintery escape. The experience stood in sharp contrast to the onset of my day. Being true to myself had taken me along a path that separated me from those closest to me, yet moments like today..when I am child-like once again, I appreciate the place in which I have found myself. We each have our own journey. Where my journey takes me should not be filled with regret for those who are not with me. Instead, my journey is a gift to my inner child. A chance to find new playmates whose journeys coincide with mine, and we will enjoy the journey together.
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