Trees And Wings

I just saved a poor bird from the clutches of my cat. Though the sad creature did get clutched before I freed it, so I’m hoping at the very least if she doesn’t make it, there is peace and trees at her end, instead of my kitty’s tormenting face.

I have a soft heart that always weeps when the cat catches prizes, even though she is just doing what is in her nature. But nature can be complex and hard, and it doesn’t always come with happy endings.

Just like being human. Complex, hard, doesn’t always come with happy endings; we do the best we can with what we’re given. I often still shake my head that the ending that came from losing my brother is the same beginning that has me sitting here writing these words.

I’ve been swimming the seas of life’s complexities lately, as I’ve continued to dive in and edit up my next book. Loss, loneliness, finding oneself, the uncomfortable nebulous space of not knowing how it’s going to turn out. Goodbyes, transitions, personal change, the perspective from the inside of the cocoon:

If we are all in the process of transforming and growing our wings, then people don’t often talks about the in-between stage.

Where you don’t know how, so you have to live the change, trust Life, figure it out as you go along…

I didn’t set out to write this book, it wrote itself about a month and a half ago. Spilled onto the page so fast I’m not sure where March or April went. Only that I find myself entering May with the task of taking it from a decent rough draft to a polished final draft that is due at the publisher’s by months end.

I write from my heart, always have and always will regardless of how its received, and my heart impetus for writing this book was to tell the vulnerable story of what happens half way up the mountain.

Who did I become after losing Brent? How did it change me? How did that impact me following my soul calling?

Most stories of transformation are written from the perspective of the pinnacle, but what about when you’re only half way there?

What about when you still have a ways to go and sometimes you still feel really lost and alone on the journey. When you’re still taking the faithful “it will be worth it” steps instead of having already arrived at destination’s “it was worth it” conclusion. When your dreams still feel far away, though you know you’re moving in the direction of following them.

Discouragement is easily found halfway up the mountain; sometimes it helps to look back and be encouraged by how far you’ve come instead of focusing on how far you have to go.

But there are still gifts to be found there. Gifts of allowance and trust. Gifts of unfolding and creating and letting things come of their own accord in their own time. Gifts of humility and humanness: anybody who tries to give you easy answers for the question of your journey is either somebody who hasn’t gone climbing, or doesn’t want to admit to their own mountain.

Because there are no easy answers, the art of being human is complicated.

And messy. And beautiful. And creative. And emotional. And subject to swift changes and shifts in mood and perspectives tilts, which make you look at life differently than the way you once did.

The art of being human is the spiritual and creative path each of us is called to, figuring out our own journeys, creating new steps along the way, getting off one mountain and climbing a different one when we realize there is nothing new to be learned from the same old steps.

Last year I was ascending the epic mountains of Alaska with the knowledge those would be my last climbs. Today I ascended a slightly more modest peak on a gentler tropical terrain of red dirt, crushed guava berries, and soft mud and stone.

This is the mountain I climb most now, whose ascents and descends have contained and comforted many questions of my heart as I’ve found my footing here in Kauai. Today the questions were quieter, my time on the mountain more about getting outside and getting my heart rate up before I had to settle in at the computer to write, edit, and reflect on the journey and the complexities, frailties, resilience, and transformation found along the way:

A lot has changed in one year’s time.

It’s getting softer outside as the sun begins to consider setting and that pre-dusk feeling hangs in the skies overhead.

I can’t help but notice the little rescue bird is no longer sitting under the tree I relocated her to after locking my cat inside to give the bird a chance. I like to imagine she’ll make it and any wounds will heal, though I also know there’s a better chance she won’t.

So instead I say a prayer for Life to guide her, watch her, and be with her however her story goes.

Knowing that endings are always beginnings, Life is so much bigger than we can conceive, and that sometimes the best any of us can do is keep on climbing, rest as we need, hold space in our heart for each other’s wings and consider the truths found in the trees.