From the Editor

by

It used to be my daily practice to hike through the woods, to walk the trails that led me through sword ferns and ancient cedars. It was a type of meditation, cleansing, and therapy all in one. I relied on the sanctuary of it, a place where I could always be me. There was a sense of companionship with those woods and yet there was nothing I had to offer, no way that I had to act, nothing to apologize for or feel self conscious about, no need to explain.

Some days I showed up and would find that I was almost running along the dirt path, leaping over roots, the forest a blur in my periphery, my thoughts tumbling along in front. Other days held a gentleness that bordered on reverent as I took in the dense forest life around me: the sound of the wind moving amongst the leaves and the feel of it on my skin, the damp air, the light breaking through the canopy of leaves and pine needles to the quiet world below, a solitary bird flitting about, the first bud of spring.  I noticed it all.

We moved away from that place. No longer can I drive 5 minutes from my house, a place itself surrounded by woods filled with owls and deer, and be amongst trees hundreds of years old. It was a great move for our family, but I am a girl who needs the natural world, my eyes need to see and my ears need to hear what only God made. The planes, cars, buses, and trains are too harsh, they are not companions, they do not hold life, the cement ground too unyielding to absorb me into itself.

We are a family of many needs, it is impossible to meet them all. So, we meet everybody’s enough and as fully as we can. Overtime there is balance. This idea of not getting all of my needs met used to feel completely unacceptable. It felt like losing. It felt like living a life less than the full possibility of itself. It’s taken decades to learn that it isn’t.  It’s simply a necessary part of sharing a life with others, there are more needs than our own to consider and rich rewards in seeing another’s happiness even if it means stepping away from a dream of our own. This works because we do it for each other. We each bend for the other. In being willing to do this, I’ve learned to stretch beyond myself and open up to new ways to live this life.

So, when we decided where we were going to settle down, we chose a small city that held the natural world near. We will have camping trips this summer that will refresh me, we will go on hikes and I will find my bounce, there will be canoe trips and I will hear that voice inside me that becomes clear and strong in these places.

Perhaps one day we will have a house in the country that I can retreat to. For now, I will create a sanctuary at home. It will not be all that I want, but it will be enough. There will be fruit trees and roses, chickens clucking and flowers alive with bees, there will be French radishes pulled from the earth, rinsed and served with lunch. We will sit in our garden on summer nights, eating food that we grew, and I will take in our beautiful family, I will see happiness on our faces, and I will have gratitude for what we have created. I can feel it now and I know it will only grow.