This may be an emotional blog.
I drove along Skanee Road tonight, aimed for a meeting. A foggy sadness gathered in my heart. Descending darkness suddenly filled my sight and I was crying.
Missing last year’s 365-day outdoor commitment (Opening the door, Walking Outside) with emotional intensity. Mourning its passing. Feeling like a death happened, a mini-death, and suddenly I wanted it all back.
But why? A month ago I counted the days until the end. The feeling of “having to” go outside and write a blog, “having to” spend one to three hours a day exploring and creating, “having to” find photographic subjects and topics to write…just seemed too much as December nudged toward the Solstice.
When it ended my heart felt light, relaxed, at ease. I barely picked up the camera for ten days. Rejoiced in the freedom of doing anything in the Universe.
When I started this blog, I delighted in the possibility to write about Anything. This, that, indoors, outdoors, a poem here, a spiritual thought there, a photographic display, a few paragraphs of random words. This blog would be more like my life. A mish-mash of everything.
Yet now I feel like a boat without its mooring. Without a compass. Without a sure and steady aim toward True North.
“True North” in the outdoor blog was always about the Outdoors. Nature. The world outside the front door. There was always a subject beyond self. Sure, you could tie it back to human stories, but the focus pointed to the Outside. It pointed to trees and wildflowers and snow and sunlight and Lake Superior waves. It gestured toward the landscape even when the topics bore personal concerns.
I miss the outdoor commitment and blog so much tonight. The excitement of declaring a goal and following it. The enthusiasm of supporters who cheered one on. The feeling of “Darn it! I’ll strap on those snowshoes and go ANYWHERE to get a good blog.”
These days I look at the fascinating orange frozen apples on the gnarly trees and want to take a photograph. But no impetus drags me from the warm and cozy car to strap on snowshoes and wade into the deep ditches. No impetus forces me to ski, to push boundaries, to find new vistas. I don’t “have to”. So I don’t.
The outdoor commitment now seems a gift worth more than silver, more than gold. It was a precious year. In many ways, more precious than past years because of its commitment and creativity.
And now? How does one properly grieve? How does one properly say goodbye? How does one find a new rhythm, a different rhythm, built on the foundations of this incredible year?
I must reach for patience. Patience to allow this missing, this sadness, to exist. Patience to let the parts of self come up and express themselves…patience to learn to walk on this new pathless path. To see what door opens next.
Every day I sort through the 10,000 photographs of the year, copying and pasting in a new folder. Organizing. Choosing good ones, deleting others. It’s like viewing the year in slow motion, appreciating it through the photos. I just finished through May 31st today.
Thank you for letting me share this. I feel better already. My friend Nancy just said, “You need a puppy.” I don’t think so. Just taking the time to acknowledge this sadness feels right.
And tomorrow will bring new gifts. It always does.