When I was a senior in high school, I spent a day exploring Yosemite National Park with my classmates. It was a school-arranged “Senior Cut Day.” After an early morning bus ride, we were given freedom to explore at our leisure. At one point, several hours into our day, my friends and I came to a lake. The water was still and inviting. Some friends pawed at the water with bared toes. Some stood back, already resolved to stay on the shore. I didn’t think about or test the water before I leapt, I just went for it. The lake was ice-cold and knocked the breath out of me. I frantically paddled my legs and arms in attempt to warm up. It wasn’t long before I got out of the water, but I’ve never once regretted jumping into that crystal clear lake; the cold bite stayed with me as I walked the trails, leaving me feeling energized and alive.
The lake offered me a life lesson that day: sometimes in life, you dangle a foot and test the waters first, and sometimes you jump right in, armed with the knowledge you can get out whenever you’re ready.
When I renamed my blog, I was certain I was ready to jump in the water and start swimming. But, unexpectedly, I’ve spent more time dangling a toe than swimming. For months, I’ve told myself that writing is a priority while allowing so many other things to take priority in my life.
Over the last several years, I’ve participated in NaBloPoMo, also known as “hell month”, where bloggers challenge themselves to write a post every day during the month of November. Last year, a group of us formed a Facebook support group to cheer each other on as we lumbered toward the finish line. The fellowship of that group was amazing and never failed to make me smile at least once a day, filling my heart with gratitude for the amazing group of women that had welcomed me into their fold.
This year, Ruth, author of Being Brain Healthy, was the first to ask, “Who’s in?” One by one, the responses came in; everyone already had full plates with no room for NaBloPoMo. I responded that I was still thinking it over. I thought about the lack of time I’d made for writing over the last
months, ahem, year. I thought about my already full plate, but the water beckoned. The stillness of a night, my silent keyboard, the promise of an invigorating ride–it all called like a that lake in Yosemite.
NaBloPoMo, I’ve discovered, is like a mythical Siren luring me to follow the call. However, with the memory of my long-ago swim in an ice-cold lake fresh in my mind, this year I am jumping in with self-granted permission to get out whenever my arms get too tired or the thrill gives way to chills.
As a focus on thankfulness all month long is customary in my home in November, I’ve decided most of my posts will focus on gratitude. Sure, there will be other things I may choose to write about but, this morning, as I thought about this 30 day writing journey and watched the sun rise, gently highlighting the beauty in my yard as it prepares for its winter slumber, the plants became my teachers.
I was reminded to set my eyes on my abundant blessings. I was mesmerized by the colors as I wandered the yard, grateful for the last glimpse of the deep purple of a late-blooming bellflower…
and a last burst of snapdragons.
Then, there was the deep red leaves holding-fast against the cooler temperatures.
As I moved about the yard, I thanked the garden, now stripped of its bounty, for its abundance despite the challenging growing season.
Until next year, garden. Until next year.