“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway
What influences the path we choose? What are the interconnections which link our decisions with those of the people around us, known and unknown? To what extent can we honestly claim either responsibility or blame for the winds of change? Serendipity comes to us all with a kiss, and she has graced me so many times with her chance gifts. I plan and I strive and my attempts are superseded by events wholly unexpected, yet in this there is a blessing, if you are poet enough to see it. If I could consider them each one by one, how many beautiful moments have come to me unbidden? Unplanned, unprepared for, they come with the morning, these little stars in my heart’s night.
In gratitude, I look around at the people who have adorned my life by small gestures. With a generous heart, friends and family forgave my cruelties. With a wisdom, they understood the waywardness of my footsteps. With foresight, they prepared means to helps me before I even fell. With patience, they remained steadfast despite my own disloyalty. Each unexpected, gentle word created new strength in me to love, to sacrifice, and to seek my own joy without fear.
I am grateful to my beloved husband Benjamin, who always urges me to follow my passion, to resist fear, and to see the poetry all around me. You dare me to dream and to seek out solutions to problems which I struggle to solve. You demonstrate to me the wealth of a contented, peaceful heart. You teach me how vulnerability and openness are a form of strength. When I feel fragmented and lost, you remind me of the multifaceted nature of my own person. It is impossible to consummately bear such pleasure and beauty as I have experienced without being able to share it with you.
I am grateful to my children, who give me the gift of their trust and believe that I can bring them to a better life, who came in November and received a brief taste of things to come. I miss you all moment by moment, and delight in dreaming up preparations for the life we will share together in our new home. I hope that you take from my story a love for new places, a sense of joyful independence, a passion for learning and fearlessness in the face of change. It is will be such bliss to share a home with you again and all the little ordinary comforts of daily life.
I am grateful to my mother, who believed in my decision to come to Alaska and supported me emotionally and financially as I started to build a new life here for my family. Thank you for coming to visit me and letting me show you what I love. You and I are independent women and come from a line of independent women. You gave me the music and stories which formed the fabric of my little girlhood and blessed me with a lifetime of song and a love for the written word, which remain a part of me now.
I am grateful to my father, who encourages me to do all I can, and in whose footsteps I tread, following likeminded wanderlust, exploring new places, taking photographs and leaving behind a trail of letters and stories. It took me years to understand how much we share. I’m sorry that I had to go so far away, Dad. But you and I were wanderers from the beginning, from a line of wanderers who felt the need to cross vast distances in search of a better life. We know each other better now than we did years ago.
I am grateful to my brothers who taught me the preciousness of family. It has taken me time to understand how to love and be loved, and how to let go.
I am grateful to my friend Matthew, who encouraged me to write the stories and make them public, and who has remained my most faithful and responsive reader. Writing about traveling is different than writing about living in one place; my decision to keep a public journal at your request has taught me much about what writing means to me. I know better than ever before that writing is a part of who I am. We went our separate ways, and communication between us has been scarce, but you and your family have always been dear to me.
I am grateful to my many scattered friends, whom I miss. You have been my teachers, traveling companions, counselors, climbing partners, colleagues, fellow students and confidants. Invaluable; all with the unexpected gift of your own unique story.
* * *
Stories end and stories begin. I have accepted the offer to participate in a program in Germany during June. This means that I will travel overseas again this summer, and return just weeks before my family is slated to arrive in late July. Two months stand between me and another departure laden with possibilities. Between now and then lies the time to work and plan and prepare.
To all whom I love: keep in touch.