This week’s Sharing Our Stories prompt from Ruth Ayres was “spreading your wings wider.” I thought about her words for a little while. Lately, I’ve been spreading my wings a little wider each day even though we remain in quarantine. It’s funny how being physically inside has made me become more open and wandering within my mind and heart.
I usually like keeping my writing to myself. I am very protective of it. Too protective. I know where that comes from so I try to encourage myself to take risks and reach out. Today, I invited three friends to join SOS. They are talented writers and need a helpful nudge, like Ruth nudged me on my 64th birthday. I wouldn’t normally reach out to people – even friends. But this online writing group is teaching me to read others’ words and connect. I’m learning that my thinking is stretched and strengthened by others. I know that intellectually, but now I’m coming to know it emotionally.
When I come to think about stretching my wings, taking chances, being wild – I think of all the abundance I have in my life and how that abundance has been revealing itself to me these past months. I have a 94-year-old father who lives by himself in a high risk COVID area – he remains healthy and safe. This is good news because my relationship with him continue to heal and grow in beneficial ways. I have a mother-in-law who is very needy and lives far from me. She has no other relatives nearby. I am her lifeline and though sometimes, it is stressful, I think about all the lovely talks we’ve had about books (she was a research librarian and has a home library of 4,000 books). Over the years, she has reminded me just how important books/knowledge is to personal development.
Thought it’s been a tumultuous year so far, I recognize all the things in my life that I am grateful for: my husband – who always encourages me to stretch my thinking, my family (sister, cousins, aunts, and nieces) who are there for support, my friends – and especially my friend, Molly, who is one of the most creative, positive, and courageous people I know, and the children I’ve taught for the past 42 years, who have come back to share their grown-up lives with me. I am ever so grateful and blessed.
I use my poetry as snapshots. They help me remember moments in my life. This poem below fits so beautifully with how I’m feeling right now and how Ruth helped me spread my wings.
This morning, if I hadn’t decided
To hike around Lake Minnewaska,
If I didn’t choose the yellow trail
Up the mountain, past Gertrude’s Nose,
If I didn’t stop along the ridge
To watch the hawks circle above the pines,
If I hadn’t bent to tie my boot on the rocky path,
I would not have seen that single moth
With wings folded upright, carefully clasped
Almost the color of birch bark or sunlit limestone
She would not have startled me
With her out-spread, periwinkle wings –
I would not have witnessed
Her ascent into the April air.