~ Please enjoy my column for the Loon Lake Times – January/February 2018 Edition ~
Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira
Until I saw the sunset that evening, I had nearly forgotten how to be thankful. I had nearly forgotten the sun had even been shining, a rare and special gift indeed on a chilly, wintery day. I had nearly missed the beauty of the mother white-tailed deer, staring wide-eyed and cautiously curious from the frost-bitten field; as her furry, soft twins scampered silently off to a safer place to graze and wait. I had nearly missed the chance to breathe in the brisk, crisp, deliciously fresh air, wafting off the glimmering lake, a still, icy, foggy mirror. I was too lost in the stressful haze hanging over me from the holidays and finances; and wading too deeply into the dark pool of some of life’s bigger questions. Who am I? What am I really doing here? What is my greater purpose? And just where the heck is my path?
I love to hike, to feel the earth under my feet. I love to wander the woods, marveling at the smallest of wild flowers that vibrantly smile up at me from the good, green earth. I love to stand and stare into the vastness of landscapes, mountain peaks stretching as far as the mind and eye can reach. I love to rest under a thick canopy of trees, wrapped in the soothing, brownish-purple peace of their filtered light, inhaling the earthy purity they miraculously exude. And in the course of my wanderings, I often find that I rarely really know where I’m going; after all, these are frequently new-to-me paths. All I do know, however, is that I must go.
Have you ever been on trails, so overgrown, that you simply cannot see the way ahead? How many of you have occasionally panicked, as I have a time or two? But before the fear fully takes over, above the sound of your pounding heart, a voice advises sagely, wisely, “Take the next right step.” And you do. And suddenly you can see the next step on that faint, nearly forgotten path. Or perhaps you simply create your own new way. And soon another step appears, and so on, and so forth. Before you know it, you’ve just had the most marvelous adventure, while somehow managing to find your way too; whether it’s out of the woods, to the main road, to a parking lot, or eventually home.
As I wandered in the vague direction of home that evening, my head full of a million worries, I was halted in my tracks by the most gloriously expansive, bursting brush strokes of reds, oranges, pinks, and purples stretching out on the horizon before me. A gentle and loving hand seemed to raise my eyes to the sky; and suddenly the glow of gratitude ignited in my heart, radiating out to warm every fiber of my being. And for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace, suspended in a state of love and belonging, embraced by that exquisite sunset.
This winter, I’m wishing you the warmth, comfort, and glow of home…whatever home means to you. And may we all recall something to be thankful for; for I’m beginning to suspect that gratitude has a funny way of illuminating our paths…to Home…to Love…to Peace. Cheers to a bright new year!
ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, and Loon Lake neighbor. You can enjoy more of her work at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.
Check out my newest column for the Loon Lake Times, Getting Wild at Loon Lake – Fun Facts & Tips for Engaging with Nature & Wildlife. Visit LoonLakeTimes.com to find out how you can pick up a copy today!