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QUINTESSENCE

This Moment

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,"
- "The Moment," Margaret Atwood, Morning in the Burned House, 1995

This morning I came in from a long, brisk run. The winter dark and frosty mornings mean move the legs or freeze in place. But it is one of my favorite times of year for running. The fresh cold air in my lungs, the warm exhale that puffs away behind me, the sense of my body pumping, working, warming me as I move with a steady pad, pad, pad down the streets. The cold is very quiet. There is something about the empty streets and the trees denuded of their leaves - dark, mute soldiers on watch for the first snow. This is a time it is very easy for me to think.

This morning I thought about the sensation, new to me in midlife, of having completed - yes, fulfilled and finished - some very large and important life dreams and goals. I think back to when I was young and formulated these lofty ambitions, and to now, when I recognize I have done what I set out to do: A satisfying sense of release. Satisfaction in having accomplished the goal, release in stepping away, closing the door on something that has been a driving force for decades of adult life. Done. Complete. Letting go and moving on. A new design to frame the future. Like these trees I run past, barren of last season's growth, I am freed and open to the future. What will the next dream be? Is a dream even necessary? Is life a banquet I can finally enjoy?

I ponder these thoughts as I huff through the early gray morning. My journey to this place, the goals met along the way, the things I am done with, the space opening inside for something new. Winter, the season of contemplation and restoration, has enveloped me in her quiet. I am grateful for all that has been, and eager for the next bend in the road. A lighter load and a gentle freedom.
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