All night the dark buds of dreams open richly. In the center of every petal is a letter, and you imagine if you could only remember and string them all together they would spell the answer. It is a long night, and not an easy one—you have so many branches, and there are diversions— birds that come and go, the black fox that lies down to sleep beneath you, the moon staring with her bone-white eye. Finally you have spent all the energy you can and you drag from the ground the muddy skirt of your roots and leap awake with two or three syllables like water in your mouth and a sense of loss—a memory not yet of a word, certainly not yet the answer—only how it feels when deep in the tree all the locks click open, and the fire surges through the wood, and the blossoms blossom. — “Dreams” by Mary Oliver
This morning I was looking back at my birthday post from last year, written by a thirty-four year-old me who was obviously feeling very vulnerable and uncertain. I was confused, the future completely opaque, and I was worried about where I might be in a year or two when both kids were in school and didn’t need a full-time mother—I didn’t have a career to return to, and the idea of starting from scratch was completely overwhelming.
Things have changed.
In the past year I got a part-time job, doing something I really enjoy. I did some professional photography work and realized that I don’t really have the desire to take pictures as a full-time career—what a relief to be certain of that! I finally launched, and have been pouring myself into, a new creative endeavor called around the year. I was confirmed into the Episcopal Church.
I feel like myself, now more than ever—in fact, I feel a lot like the person I was as a child.
Thirty-five feels like possibilities.
It feels like standing in a beautiful forest, with the early morning sunlight touching down on my skin, like golden petals, as it passes through the leaves and branches—ahead of me are many paths, all of them inviting, all of them drawing me closer to myself. God willing, there will be time to explore each one, and that’s just what I plan to do this year.